4' di lettura
«The collection presented on 20 September is inspired by the desert world and Moroccan influences, reinterpreted with a chic and contemporary feel. ’It is designed for a woman that loves to travel these places, where there are as many different styles as there are women who can relate to our brand.» Nicoletta Spagnoli, at the helm of the company founded in Perugia by great-grandmother Luisa in 1928, is ready to return to Milan for a new show following the 2018 event that celebrated the brand’s 90th anniversary and marked its first appearance on the catwalk.
The concept of the fashion show is evolving: will you be focusing on this kind of event in the future?
Last year’s show was a success and positively impacted on sales. For this reason we want them to become a regular event. For Luisa Spagnoli it is a moment of great visibility, a chance to present ourselves to the world in a new, fresh and somewhat unexpected way while remaining faithful to our identity. Of course, the timeframes and formats of shows have changed but the event in itself remains very important. If this wasn’t the case it would be hard to justify the Cruise shows that luxury brands add to the seasonal shows.
You have been CEO of the company since 1986: how has women’s fashion evolved in this time and what issues will the sector have to address in the future?
Today’s women have learned to be distinctive: they love wearing clothes that accentuate their physical characteristics, that fit with their own tastes. Above all they dress to feel good about themselves, as well as to look good. For this reason we have decided to use the tag #iameverywoman, an invitation to all women to interpret the Luisa Spagnoli style in their own personal way.
How has 2019 been so far?
In Italy, where we make 90% of our sales, the first half of the year was very positive, partly thanks to the return of tourists - Arabs and Russians above all - particularly to Milan. We have updated our stores while preserving their souls, for example by using the Murano glass chandeliers that my grandfather commissioned specifically in the 1950s and which became one of our symbols. And we are already recording strong growth in these stores. The restyling project has so far involved 35 of them, including the Milan flagship store whose surface area has been tripled. This year 60 stores will be affected, including the one in Via Frattina in Rome.
In 2018 you also opened in Australia. How are your international investments proceeding?
In Italy we operate according to a direct distribution model made up exclusively of proprietary branded stores, with over 150 stores distributed throughout the most important Italian towns. This is our strength, one that has enabled us to hold strong even during times of crisis. We are present in over 40 countries with more than 50 branded stores and we also want to increase our number of directly-managed stores abroad, like in the case of the boutique we are opening in Dusseldorf in November. We will also be opening new stores in the Middle East and Russia, and in 2020 we plan to expand our presence in China, the US and central Europe. In Australia, where we have three stores, things are going very well.
To support internationalisation you need capital: could you open the company to external investors?
I don’t think so, to be honest. Our continuity is one of our strengths and sets up apart from many other companies. I want to maintain it in the future. I hope that my son Nicola, who represents the fifth generation, also keeps the company in the family’s hands.
Your family has always had a very strong bond with your city. You “donated” the cycle of paintings by Gerardo Dottori discovered in the Città dell’Angora, your historic headquarters, to Perugia and work with many factories in the Umbrian district.
I believe that companies like mine have to contribute to the economic, ethical and cultural growth of the area in which they reside and develop. At the end of the 1940s my grandfather Mario devoted himself to the Città dell’Angora project, a genuine community with a crèche, library and swimming pool for employees. He got Dottori to decorate the artisan workshops, convinced that this would contribute to creating a serene work environment. In the late 70s my father Lino was one of the first in Italy to introduce a new structure for the production system which involved the collaboration of smaller satellite businesses, often located around the city: when he was in charge, many of these contractors enjoyed an upturn in their work and business, subsequently becoming established companies.
Your brand has expanded to include fragrances and accessories. All you need is shoes for a total look...
There are no plans as yet but who knows, never say never.