CASADEI

Casadei is an Italian luxury brand that designs and manufactures stylish footwear including pumps, sandals, platforms, sneakers, boots and accessories.

Index

  1. The Origin: Quinto and Flora Casadei
  2. First Platform Shoe
  3. The Famous Casadei Pump
  4. Second Generation
  5. Brand Expansion
  6. 50th Anniversary
  7. Current Situation

The Origin: Quinto and Flora Casadei

Casadei is an Italian shoe factory that was established in S. Mauro Pascoli, Forlì Italy at the end of the 1950s as an artisanal workshop with particularly skilled production. The brand journey as the global footwear leader is anything but ordinary. If you see their success trajectory from an aerial overview, you’ll find that their growth arc is streaked with design excellence and entrepreneurial gut.

The label’s quest for age defying and bold designs began in the year 1958. Quinto and Flora Casadei are the protagonists of Casadei’s spirited tale of two cordwainers who made footwear for the inbound tourists in the eastern Italian coastline. Together, they built the legacy of their humble shoe label in a workshop of two. Tucked away in San Mauro Pascoli in Forli, the provincial town of Romagna Rivera, the Casadei pair brought in the beginning of a new art form of shoe-making, in a region primarily known for agriculture and renaissance frescos.

Casadei Fall/Winter 1963 Campaign
Casadei Fall/Winter 1963 Campaign

The 1960s saw the development of a more formal business structure, the beginning of exports to Europe, the U.S. and the Far East, and the start of a full-fledged line dedicated to evening wear and a Collection of bags. By the late sixties, the whispers of Casadei’s detailed luxury spread beyond the Italian frontiers. After dressing feet of strangers on vacation with their exotic offerings, the family-run business expanded in terms of production scale and international presence. The company gained structure and channelled its focus on catering exports to larger sections of European market as well as the United States of America.

First Platform Shoe

They elevated a level above from their initial line of sandals and launched the first series of platform shoes, a popular and trendy choice in the eccentric decade of the ‘60s. Early seventies allowed the two shoemakers to shift their base from the homely workshop to an industrial facility. This change triggered the journey of a new kind of shoe-speech.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Casadei Shoes Fall 1971 Campaign
Casadei Shoes Fall 1971 Campaign

Taking the platforms as their prototype, they experimented with the idea of lace-up and slip-on generation of platforms. Further, they added a dose of bravery in design by creating a line of platforms covered with fabrics sporting delicate embroidery. Later, they switched gears to introduce an era of leather pumps balanced on low flared heels.

By the end of the seventies, their instinctual understanding of versatility and utility kicked in with the earliest version of Casadei boots that can be zipped down from thigh-high, to knee-high and finally to short booties. With a new prototype in market to be tried on, they also expanded their presence in Asian market. By 1977 they were now open for business in the Japanese market.

The Famous Casadei Pump

Casadei pumps from the 80s
Casadei pumps from the 80s

In the early eighties, the label expanded its operation to the Middle East. After the roaring feat in the feet fantasy expedition with their boots and platform shoes, Casadei turned to the category of pumps. Their rendition of pumps saw an imaginative exploration with polka dots and velour tulle, finished with high conical leather heels dipped in golden hue.

In a matter of no time, the pumps secured a spot in their hall of fame, and till date is considered an iconic product by the label. Designed to adapt the graceful curves of the feminine feet, the label continues to dabble with different fabrics, finishes and embroideries to create newer identities with passage of time. Towards the end of the eighties, the label was quick to adapt to the sportswear trend by building a dictionary of hybrid sneakers and football boots with heels.

Second Generation

Cesare Casadei Portrait in Office
Cesare Casadei Portrait in Office

Like most family-run operations, every company witnesses the arrival of a new protagonist in the story. For Casadei it was appointment of Quinto and Flora’s son, Cesare Casadei, as the next creative director of the business. Cesare took office in 1994 to continue Casadei’s ongoing journey. Cesare’s first-hand experience in production amplified the promotion of their ‘Made In Italy’ brand image at an international level. Cesare’s arrival also marked the beginning of unisex styles. Subsequently, he also signed off the manufacturing of casual footwear, each spectacular in their own regard.

Spring/Summer 1995 Campaign. Photographed by: Nick Knight
Spring/Summer 1995 Campaign. Photographed by: Nick Knight

In early 2000s, the label made a decision to relocate its Milanese showroom to Via dell’Annunciata, that was eventually remodelled to become the Milan headquarter for the company. At this time, the brand became a favourite amongst a growing mass of celebrities. Hollywood’s A-listers were photographed wearing Casadei iconic creations, making the label become a significant name to be reckon with in the fashion circuit. Casadei also became a popular choice for various fashion publications when globally recognised photography talents shot the brand’s advertising campaigns.

Brand Expansion

Casadei Flagship Store London
Casadei Flagship Store London

In October 2002 the company, which employs 200 people, opened a new single-brand shop in the heart of London, at no. 12 Beauchamp Place, in the Knightsbridge section. In the firm’s worldwide activity, Italy is the second market after the U.S., and has 400 points-of-sale, 4 of which are single-brand shops (Milan, Florence, Rimini, and Ferrara). With Germany, it is the most important in Europe. Two more boutiques are opened in Russia, in St. Petersburg and Moscow. The company’s choices for expansion are supported by the excellent turnover, which in 2001 reached €32,604 million, an increase of 14.82% in comparison to the previous year.

The Federation Of Italian Footwear in 2004 launched a limited edition of postage stamps to celebrate and commemorate the legacy of Casadei. This very move reflected a mark of respect for an Italian label that represents the ideology of fashion forward footwear.

50th Anniversary

Casadei turned 50 in the year 2008. To commemorate the brand’s half a century worth of eye-catching designs and artisanal glory, photographer Ellen Von Unwerth was called on board. The result culminated itself in a grand book featuring Casadei’s footwear through the years, followed by an exhibition at Milan’s La Triennale. Together, they encompassed the celebratory tones of the brand’s golden jubilee.

50th Anniversary Party Exhibition. Photographs Featured By: Ellen Von Unwerth
50th Anniversary Party Exhibition. Photographs Featured By: Ellen Von Unwerth

With every progressing year the label opened its door to a new territory. The beginning of 2010s sees Casadei launching into a full throttle mode in the landscape of brand expansion, with the opening of boutiques in Rome, Cannes, Dubai, Casablanca and finally in New York. Apart from expansion, the year 2010 itself marked the momentous presentation of Casadei heels and shoes during the Milan Fashion Week.

After conquering the brick and mortar setups, the label discovered the digital world with the launch of their website in 2012, followed by the arrival of their e-commerce boutique in 2013.  Later in 2015, Cesare Casadei and Architect Marco Costanzi gave Milan its first footwear concept store, followed by the unveiling of a new boutique in the exclusive Albemarle Street, Mayfair London. In the same year, the company re-launches its online shopping portal, a step taken in the direction of establishing new aesthetics and vision.

Current Situation

Casadei Famous Blade Stiletto Campaign 2016
The Famous Blade Stiletto Campaign 2015

Casadei kickstarted 2017 with the Super Bowl game in United States of America. Lady Gaga, who was chosen to deliver the prestigious half-time performance was spotted in the famous Casadei blade stilettos during the pre-game show. Also, Victoria Beckham is frequently seen wearing the Blade Stiletto, a favorite of celebrities because its claimed to be the comfiest of all brands.

Till date, Casadei continues to be a story of an entrepreneurial swiftness and smartness, one that is hallmarked by expert craftsmanship and well sought-out innovation. It is a testimony of Italian heritage and vision, all summed up with gracious use of vibrant colours, blended with artisanal values.

JIL SANDER

Jil Sander is a minimalist German fashion designer and the founder of the Jil Sander fashion house. Her style is intelligent, minimalist, and contemporary.

Index

  1. The Origin: Jil Sander
  2. Jil sander Style
  3. First Boutique
  4. Jil Sander Acquired by Prada Group
  5. Raf Simons
  6. Uniqlo J+
  7. Navy Collection
  8. Current Situation

The Origin: Jil Sander

Jil Sander Designer Portrait in 1983
Jil Sander Portrait in 1983

German fashion designer and entrepreneur, Jil Sander, was born in 1943 in Wesselburen, near Hamburg. Jil is methodical and creative, reserved and determined, fragile and energetic. She has built an empire in just a few years that was quoted on the stock market in 1989. With a diploma in textile engineering from Germany, she went to Los Angeles at age 19, where she completed her studies and had her first experience as a journalist in the editorial office of McCalls. Returning to Hamburg, she became fashion editor for Costanze and Petra and took on management responsibilities. As a freelance designer, she worked with a number of firms, among them, Callaghan.

Jil Sander Style

Jil Sander Minimalist
Jil Sander Minimalist Style

The most important representative of German fashion and one of the biggest names in international fashion, she has succeeded in creating a style that is intelligent, minimalist, and decidedly contemporary. “Strong and pure” are the adjectives that are often used to describe her designs. Considered the German Armani, her clothes are characterized by her use of neutral colors, purified lines, and full-bodied materials. Also, her cuts “made by the knife”, as she herself describes them, to create a femininity deprived of any frivolity, but not without a certain seductive austerity.

First Boutique

Picture of Jil Sander in front of her Hamburg boutique 1968. Photographed By: Hans Rudolf Uthoff
Picture of Jil Sander in front of her Hamburg boutique 1968. Photographed By: Hans Rudolf Uthoff

In 1968 she opened an avantgarde boutique in Hamburg, the first of its type, where she sold clothes that she designed alongside garments bought in Paris and Italy. Strengthened by this experience and with an ambitious project in mind, she opened Jil Sander Moden and presented her first real collection in 1973, with all her pieces in varying tones of khaki. She had a difficult start as a fashion designer wanting to create top quality modern clothes, but of too great an elegance to be produced in Germany, where luxury ready-to-wear was still unheard of. It was only natural that she found the necessary materials, firms, and people in Italy.

In 1975 she was in Paris where she presented two collections in successive seasons. Too purist for French taste, her runway shows were a flop. As a result, she was forced to move to Milan, a city which is more austere and therefore more in tune with her own personality.

Spring/Summer 1977 Campaign Featuring Stella Tennant. Photographed By David Sims
Spring/Summer 1977 Campaign Featuring Stella Tennant. Photographed By David Sims

The first Italian presentations were quite affairs reserved for just a few people, but the important buyers took note and were soon fighting for an exclusive deal over her work. Her designs for intelligent, independent, business-like women were very popular:

“The women who I think about when I am designing are very self-aware and full of self-respect,” she says.

Success came quickly and the purity of her designs, her constant research into materials, and her obsession with quality were all prized. In 1979 she launched Woman Pure, her first perfume, with an advertising campaign built around her own serene, fair and delicate features, ensuring herself instantaneous fame and creating a new stereotype for German women.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Jil Sander Women Pure 1980 Campaign
Women Pure Perfume 1980 Campaign

Her international reputation was confirmed in the following years as her business activities developed and moved into cosmetics, eyewear, leatherwear, and menswear that she showed in Milan in 1996. She has received numerous awards and prizes for her fashions and perfumes. With a passionate interest in contemporary art, she is a discerning collector and a generous sponsor of exhibitions of leading German artists such as Georg Baselitz and Joseph Beuys.

Jil Sander Acquired By Prada Group

From Fall 1999, the Jil Sander label was part of the Prada Group. For 2001 the brand establish a record sales, with a 17% rise in profits. Unfortunately, in 2002 the brand lost 26 million euros, in part of the costs of adding retail stores in London and New York. The number of own-brand shops throughout the world rose to 20.

By May 2003 the Prada group thinks of saving the destiny of the company by calling back Jil Sander as head of the creative team. Bertelli “approached Ms. Sander and began negotiating a truce”. Rehired under a six-year consulting contract with an undisclosed stake in the company. Jil Sander returned to the company she founded, which had been controlled by the Prada Group since 1999.

Raf Simons

Raf Simons for Jil Sander Spring 2007 Advertisement
Raf Simons for Jil Sander Spring 2007 Advertisement

However in July 2005, the creative director Belgian designer, Raf Simons took over Jil Sander after the umpteenth split with the Prada group, Simons will come to the brand to give it a particular international touch, much less rigid, by means of patterns and colours, new shapes and details.

In 2006 Prada declares it has sold it shares to Change Capital that is a specialist private equity firm founded by Luc Vandevelde, focus on consumer related businesses. Then, two years later in September 2008, Change Capital sold Jil sander to Onward Holding Co., Ltd, A Tokyo-listed apparel group and its European subsidiary, GIBO’ Co. S.p.A for a equity value of €167 million.

Uniqlo J+

Jil Sander For Uniqlo J+ 2011 Fall/Winter
Jil Sander For Uniqlo J+ 2011 Fall/Winter

In 2009, Sander announced the creation of her own fashion consultancy having Uniqlo as their first client, where she overseeing the design for womenswear and menswear collection called J+. The line was launched throughout Asia including Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and China and on 7 January 2010 in the London stores. It is to be launched in Uniqlo’s sole US store in New York city on 14 January 2010.

Navy Collection

Jil Sander Jessica Burley FW15 Campaign
Jessica Burley Featured in Fall/Winter 2015 Campaign

In 2010 Sander decides to expand the brand and launch a new collection line called Jil Sander Navy, establishing a new branch for the a younger customers, completing the aesthetic world of the Jil Sander brand and its design philosophy of pure, essential and innovative luxury. This brand extension add a sophisticated casual and dynamic attitude to the house. A focus on innovative quality cotton, techno fabrics, jerseys and knitwear.

Jil Sander Fall/Winter 2012 Collection
Jil Sander Fall/Winter 2012 Collection. Designed by Raf Simons

After Raf Simons presented the Fall 2012 collection, he announced his departure from the Milan based company welcoming Rodolfo Paglialunga, who will arrive to give an Italian detailed accuracy to brand. A year later, in October 2013, 69 years old Jil Sander left her label for the third time. She presented her last spring/summer 2014 collection during Milan fashion Week.

The Spring/Summer 2015 Ready-to-Wear collection, designed by Rodolfo Paglialunga, according to Vogue Tim Blanks it was a “coalescence of genders. There were fit issues throughout. Clunk was probably the best word for the drop-crotch culottes with the out-of-reach pockets. Same with the apron/skirt wrapped over whatever was underneath it, meaning that there was odd bunching when what was underneath had an elasticized waistband.”

Current Situation

Jil Sander Resort 2018
Jil Sander Resort 2018

After almost four years Pagilalunga, creative director, announces his retirement from the brand in March 2017. In April 2017, Lucie and Luke Meier, a husband and wife duo who have designed everywhere from Dior Haute Couture to Supreme, are named the new creative directors of the brand. The designers possess an intimate connection and a deep understanding. Their first collection is Resort 2018, which is a steady solid start for the duo. The collection was full of their aesthetics including elegance and purity made for fast paced city living.

“They hold a vision that is modern, cohesive, and in touch with what is relevant now, and they beautifully combine it with a subtle sensibility” I expect the creation of very clever collections and a world to be inspired by,” said Jil Sander CEO Alessandra Bettari.

BULGARI

Bulgari is an Italian jewelry and luxury goods brand that produces jewelry, watches, fragrances, accessories, and hotels.

Index

  1. The Origin: Sotirio Bulgari
  2. Bulgari Style
  3. Third to Fourth Generation
  4. Bulgari Hotels
  5. #Raise Your Hand
  6. LVMH Acquires Bulgari
  7. Current Situation

The Origin: Sotirio Bulgari

Bulgari is a dynasty of Italian jewelers that started with Sotirio Bulgari, a native of Epirus, Greece. He began his career as a jeweller in his home village Paramythia. He arrived in Italy in 1879 and brought the goldsmith tradition of ancient Greece. In 1885, he opened a shop in Rome, on via Sistina, offering pieces made with both ancient and modern goldsmith techniques. The business developed and, 20 years later, the firm found a new headquarters in via Condotti.

Starting in the mid 1900s, the production took on precise and original physical characteristics. This is the result of the creative commitment and entrepreneurial intuition of Sotirio’s two sons, Costantino and Giorgio, who had joined the company’s management in the early 1930s. Costantino, interested especially in collecting, started to gather artistic objects. Such as icons, carved jades, to deepen his study of the ancient goldsmith’s art. He wrote the book Argentieri, Gemmari e Orafi (Silversmiths, Jewelers and Goldsmiths), a fundamental work for knowledge of the Italian goldsmith tradition. Giorgio was put in charge of the commercial management of the company.

Bulgari Style

Bulgari's First Serpenti
Bulgari’s First Serpenti

At the end of the 1940s BVLGARI introduced the Serpenti bracelet-watches. With coils in Tubogas or in gold mesh. This style is still popular today. In the meantime, the jeweler’s boutique became a favorite meeting place of the aristocracy, rich American tourists traveling to Rome, and the cinema’s international jet set. Introducing the cabochon cut and the use of colored stones set in yellow gold, Bulgari launched a new style of great inventive freedom. The emblem of tradition was instead carried by the ancient Greek and Roman coins that were offered as the central pendants in necklaces and link bracelets shaped like a gas pipe, or as decorative motifs in rings, brooches, earrings, and furnishings in silver. The impeccable manufacturing, refinement in composition, and unmistakable designs turned these jewels into real cult-objects.

Third to Fourth Generation

Bulgari Advertising Campaign 1960
Advertising Campaign 1960

In the 1960s, the company was joined by Costantino’s daughters Anna and Marina. After Giorgio’s death in 1966, his son Gianni led the company as co-chief executive with his cousin Marina. These last two are the present heads of the company, together with their nephew Francesco Trapani, who is general director. In the 1970s, the company began to expand on the international market, opening subsidiaries in New York, Paris, Geneva, and Monte Carlo.

In 1985, Gianni resigned as CEO and in 1987, he left the family business after selling his one-third stake in the company to his brothers Nicola and Paolo. The brothers were named Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the company and nephew Francesco Trapani was named CEO. Trapani’s goal to diversify the company started in the early 1990s.

The 1980’s and 1990’s are marked by an era of opulence. Bulgari’s perfect adaptation to the contemporary world is reflected once more in its masterpieces. This years witnessed the birth the desired exemplary Parentesi; first line of modular jewellery, Bulgari-Bulgari; shapes inspired by the Roman Colosseum, and Quadrato watches. More examples of Bulgari’s adaptation to the world’s current opulence was the experimentation of new materials.

The year 1991 saw the début of the Naturalia Collection, which was inspired by the animal and vegetable world. For the occasion, the film Anima Mundi was produced, with the proceeds given to the World Wildlife Fund. The 1990s saw the creation of men’s and women’s accessories, small leather goods, foulards, ties, and eye glasses.

Bulgari Gisele Bundchen Lvcea Necklace
Gisele Bundchen Wearing Lvcea Necklace

In 1996 Bulgari started an experiment with new materials, in the jewellery line called Chandra, in which porcelain was used together with gold. In 2001 the firm launched Lucea, a collection that was innovative in style and characterized by a fluid weaving together of gold and precious stones. The advertising for it featured the model Gisele Bündchen.

Bulgari Hotels

Bulgari Hotel Milan
Bulgari Hotel Milan

The year 2002 saw the birth of Bulgari Hotel & Resorts, a joint venture between Bulgari and Luxury Group, the luxury hotel division of Marriott International. They envisioned a series of luxury hotels, the first of which would be in the center of Milan, in via privata Fratelli Gabba, near Piazza Scala and the Brera. In Autumn 2003, the company launched the women’s fragrance Omnia, the eighth creation in the perfume line for men and women under the Bulgari brand.

Bulgari Resorts Bali
Bulgari Resort Bali

Officially in 2004, Bulgari’s first hotel opened at Via Privata Fratelli Gabba in Milano, besides the prestigious La Scala theatre, in a tastefully renovated 18th-century Milanese palazzo. Later, in 2005 the brands hotels international expansion began establishing a new hotel in Bali, followed by the ones opened in London and Shanghai in 2012 and 2015 respectively. A further expansion is scheduled for 2017 in Dubai.

#Raise Your Hand

Save the Children Ring BULGARI
Save the Children Ring

Bulgari proudly celebrates its philanthropic, global partnership with Save the Children by launching the new campaign #RAISE YOUR HAND. In 2009 BVLGARI has partnered with Save the Children. The company helps fund the nonprofit’s activities with proceeds from the Save the Children jewellery collection, custom-designed jewels, inspired by the iconic B.zero1 line. Bulgari has raised over $50 million in the past seven years for this charity project.  And the purpose of  #RAISE YOUR HAND 2016 is to emphasize the importance of children’s health.

LVMH Acquires Bulgari

During the first quarter of 2011, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton acquired the majority of Bulgari S.p.A. shareholdings. In 2014 In pursue of conserving the Bulgari’s heritage, a “unique palace” named DOMVS, in reference to the brand’s major source of inspiration and actual home, was opened to the public that serves as an exhibition and art gallery.

Bulgari DOMVS
Bulgari DOMVS

Situated on the second floor of the brand’s boutique at Via Condotti, DOMVS provides a unique storytelling of Bulgari’s stylistic evolution through iconic pieces such as the ones collected for the prestigious Heritage Collection. This temple also displays images and belongings of iconic divas that once embrace the brand such as Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, and Anna Edberg. In early 2015, Bulgari started a long-term collaboration with one of most celebrated design school Central Saint Martins for supporting young fashion designers through design competitions.

Current Situation

In 2016 Le Gemme Men, a new collection of male luxury fragrances was born, inspired by the tradition and excellence values of Haute Joaillerie. At the same year in July, Bulgari launched a new high jewelry collection Festa, the spectacular collection has over a hundred jewelrys and watches inspired by Italian art de vivre. In particular, the Palio necklace and bracelet are more than exceptional, and stand for the famous horse race in Siena.

Bulgari Festa High Fashion Jewelry
Festa Collection

In 2017, Rome’s National Museum of 21st Century Arts and Bulgari join together and started a new project called MAXXI Bulgari Prize to support young contemporary artist. An international jury will spotlight and choose features young talents and present their work at National Museum of 21st Century Arts. Today, the name Bulgari expresses in just one word the concept of classic jewelry modeled according to the new dictates of contemporary taste.

From conquering the growing French artistic power in the 20’s, accommodating to resources droughts due to wars in the 40’s, to seducing new markets with creative and innovative designs and brand expansions, Bvlgari has earned the right to be called the top of the luxury jewelry industry.

DAMIANI

Damiani, a leading company in Italian jewellery manufacturing and trade sector. The brand was established in 1924 with Enrico Grassi Damiani.

Index

  1. The Origin: Grassi Damiani
  2. Contemporary Style
  3. The Third Generation
  4. International Expansion
  5. Supporting Charity
  6. Damiani Women
  7. 90th Anniversary
  8. Current Situation

The Origin: Grassi Damiani

Damiani, a leading company in Italian jewellery manufacturing and trade sector. The brand was established in 1924 with Enrico Grassi Damiani, he began designing and creating jewels with diamonds, and soon he became favorite jeweler to the noble families of Valenza Po, the center of the Italian goldsmith tradition.

Damiani Charleston Necklace 1920
Charleston Necklace 1920

Enrico Damiani was acclaimed in the italian jewelry industry as the highest expression of classicism, balance, and preciousness. And his son, Damiano, continued the family business, with his creativity and entrepreneurial spirit he designed jewels with a more contemporary style which remained unaltered over the time.

Contemporary Style

Damiani D. Icon Ring Contemporary StyleDamiani D. Icon Ring

Since the beginning each masterpiece created has conveyed the absolute reflection of a woman who believes in inner beauty, elegance, knowledge, and power. A lot of investment was made in research and development as a result of company’s clear-sighted and conscientious character. This power of taking decisions by considering the future is the potion of today’s clairvoyants and Damiani is one of them. The jewelry art evolved with a focus on white gold, as the princely metal of the Collections.

After a time, the firm became a corporation. In 1960 the company started to expand industrially and invested a huge amount of money to build their research and development department. Then, by 1976 the company won the first Diamond International Award with their “Bocca di Squalo – Shark Mount” bracelet. It has received several De Beers Diamonds International Awards, which are the Oscars for jewellery.

Daminai Bocca di Squalo (Shark Mount) Bracelet
Bocca di Squalo (Shark Mount) Bracelet

From 1980-90 the communication strategy of the brand was changed completely. Celebrity brand ambassadors became the primary source for their new communication strategy, and new collaborations with famous photographers were established for their campaigns. In 1990 the brand opened its first international branches in Switzerland, United States, and Japan during the 90’s. During this time the advertising spokesperson of the griffe was Isabella Rossellini.

The Third Generation

In the early 1990s the third generation entered Damiani. Silvia Grassi Damiani, born in 1966, is in charge of purchase of pearls and global communication. Giorgio Damiani, born in 1971, is responsible for export, development of all the collections and the purchase of precious stones. and Guido who was born in 1968, starting work as sales director, and now the chief executive officer.

In April 2002 the Damiani Manufacturing Company, led by Simone Rizzetto and his brother Christian, receives the ISO 9001 quality certification. This certification, recognized at national and international levels, recognizes the quality of precious metals, gems, and pearls selected by expert gemologists according to the place of origin, manufacture, and finishing of the jewellery.

Damiani Fine Jewelry
Damiani Fine Jewelry

In October with 130 linear feet of shop windows and two floors at the corner of via Montenapoleone and via Sant’Andrea in Milan, a new store is opened. This store follows the concept of other stores already opened abroad in Tokyo, Berlin, Dubai, and Honolulu. The project is by the architect Antonio Citterio. Soon there are four stores in Milan, with a total of 25 boutiques all over the world.

Also, after several failed negotiations, the Damiani Group acquires a significant minority stake in the Pomellato Group. The vice president and designer of Damiani, Silvia Damiani, declares her strong confidence in the decades-long experience of Giuseppe Rabolini, the president of Pomellato, whose turnover is about €55 million. For its part, the group closes the year 2001 with a turnover of €219 million and profits of €3.1 million. In 2002, investments remain steady at €36 million.

International Expansion

Damiani Ego Oversized Mens Watch
Ego Oversized Mens Watch

At this time, Damiani enters the watch industry. The men’s watch Ego Oversize, manufactured in Switzerland, is entirely designed by the griffe‘s style department. There are three versions with a total of seven models.

In February 2003 the brand opens two new stores, in Kiev and Moscow.  Also, Damiani collaborates with the soap opera The Bold and The Beautiful. Some scenes are shot in Portofino. For the occasion, during a presentation, the actors and personalities show off Damiani watches and jewellery. June marks the opening in Paris of the international exhibit Diamonds and the Power of Love, organized by Diamond Trading Company. There are unique pieces from the most important international jewellers. Damiani presents the Chakra necklace, a two-section cascade of diamonds symbolizing the union between man and woman.

Damiani Chakra Necklace
Chakra Necklace

The firm opens a new boutique on Place VendÂme. In the boutique is an exhibit of unique pieces by Damiani that have received the De Beers Diamonds International Award, which is the prestigious Oscar for jewellery, and for which Damiani holds the world record, receiving it 18 times. The Damiani group is owned entirely by the family, now in its third generation. In December the firm celebrates 80 years of prestige in the world of jewellry with an exhibition. On display are 8 exclusive and unique pieces, including a necklace composed of 1,370 diamonds with 100 carats.

In 2005, after ending the previous year with revenue of €180 million, Guido Grassi Damiani, the general manager of the group, talks about the future with an eye on exports and aims at increasing the turnover, of which 80% presently comes from the Italian market. Later, in 2007, the group went public and was listed in the Milan stock exchange.

Supporting Charity

In November 2010 The Clean Water project, which was developed in collaboration with Sharon Stone, achieved its first important result. This project was created to build clean water wells to South Africa where an important diamond supply is located. The Maji Collection was designed for this project to collect money from its sales.

Damiani Sharon Stone and Giorgio Damiani Clean Water Project
Sharon Stone and Giorgio Damiani Clean Water Project

In 2011 the Company became the first jewelry brand to reveal its prices on the internet for complete transparency. In August Damiani implemented special project for the women who suffered from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, where a selection of must-have products and special collections were put on sale. The raised money was donated to Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning.

In 2012 Damiani won the Robb Report of the Best 2012 award with their Burlesque Bracelet. Next year, with their Vulcania necklace, the company was granted second time to the Best Annual Fine Jewelry Award. The necklace that took more than 530 hours to finish and became a piece of art with its diamond, placed in the traditional Damiani ‘apparent chaos’ setting.

Damiani Vulcanian Necklace
Vulcanian Necklace

Damiani Women

For their campaigns, Damiani always collaborates with strong women like Sharon Stone, Chiara Mastroianni and Sophia Loren who portrayed the values of the brand. Only a piece created intricately by the hands of a passionate, dedicated and deep-rooted creator can portray the values of the Damiani women.

Damiani Sharon Stone Campaign
Sharon Stone Campaign

In April 2013, Sophia Lauren took part in a series of events in Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Seven new pieces were added to the existent Sophia Lauren collection and launched in the tour.

90th Anniversary

In June 2014 the company celebrated its 90th year anniversary with an exhibition. Damiani’s 18 awarded masterpiece jewelry pieces were exhibited along with the prizes and a special collection in Florence from 19th of June to 7th of September.

Damiani 90th Anniversary Florence Exhibition
90th Anniversary Florence Exhibition

Next year in September, Damiani participated in the Italian Open Golf Tournament as a main sponsor. The reason behind this sponsorship is that the values of the company match with the ideology of the sport. Both believe in the power of hard work, focus and being prepared.

Current Situation

In February 2016 the brand launched a collaboration with Microsoft in which they produced a precious smartphone case for the new Microsoft Lumia 950. Also, the company was granted the Ethical Company Prize due to their various social projects.

Damiani Microsoft Phone Case Collaboration
Damiani Microsoft Phone Case Collaboration

Currently, the brand is a winner of 18 awards, has 61 direct and 17 franchised stores all over the world. And the Damiani Group ended the 2017 with consolidated revenues from sales equal to 161.5 million euros (+4.8% at current exchange rates compared with 2016)

DIESEL

Diesel is an Italian retail clothing company that sells denim, clothing, footwear, and accessories. Two different brands: Diesel and Diesel Black Gold.

Index

  1. The Origin: Renzo Rosso
  2. Creative Director: Kosta Murkudis
  3. Supporting Young Talent
  4. OTB Group Acquires Maison Margiela
  5. Financial Information
  6. Diesel Marketing Strategy
  7. Diesel Black and Gold
  8. OTB Group Acquires Marni
  9. Current Situation

The Origin: Renzo Rosso

Diesel Founder Renzo Rosso PortraitFounder Renzo Rosso Portrait

Diesel was established in 1978 by Renzo Rosso together with other textile entrepreneurs in the Veneto. He chose this name because it is easy to understand and is pronounced the same around the world. At that time, Diesel was also considered as an alternative energy and so the word stood as a synonym to alternative taste in fashion. In 1985 Renzo Russo acquired full control of Diesel.

In 1991 Diesel launched its first advertising campaign called For Successful Living. The campaign did phenomenally and established a reputation for innovative marketing. Then, in 1995 the brand launched its own website, it was amongst the very first fashion companies to do so. Later, in 1996, the brand opened its first few flagship stores in New York, Rome and London.

Diesel Successful Living Campaign 1991
Successful Living Campaign 1991

In 2000 Diesel acquired Staff International, an Italian manufacturer and distributor of Maison Margiela, Marni Men, Dsquared2, Just Cavalli and Vivienne Westwood. Two years later Renzo Rosso became a majority shareholder of Maison Martin Margiela. In July 2000 Diesel Iberia, the 12th foreign subsidiary, expands further in the Spanish market. In Barcelona, it opens a new showroom with offices in Plaza de Cataloea. In Spain there are 350 single-brand boutiques and 12 more are expected within 2004. The turnover in Spain is equivalent to 17.6 billion liras. Later, Renzo Rosso, number one and president of the group, announces that Diesel’s global turnover for the year is expected to be 700 billion liras.

Creative Director: Kosta Murkudis

In September Kosta Murkudis, a young Greek designer, is appointed creative director of New York Industrie, the casual clothing line produced by Diesel International. In addition to creating the men’s and women’s collections, the designer will supervise the advertising campaign. He appears on the cover of W, the monthly of Women’s Wear Daily, an honor that fell to Tom Ford in July.

Diesel Kids Collection
Diesel Kids Collection

Diesel receives the Made in Italy award, a prestigious American prize within the fashion industry in January 2001. The company intends to expand further in the U.S. It was reported sales increased by one-third over the previous year. Also, by 2004, somewhere between 10 to 35 new shops are expected. At Pitti Bimboin June 2002, the company presents Diesel Kids, a celebration of denim. Every imaginable kind of denim is presented, with infinite variation, from stonewashed to torn and color-sprayed models.

Supporting Young Talent

Diesel "Its One" Winner Daniele Controversio 2002
“Its One” Winner Daniele Controversio 2002

In July 2002 the company is a sponsor and partner of the Trieste agency Eve, which has conceived and organized the first presentation of an award for young creative designers, called It’s One (International Talent Support), which is to be followed each year by It’s Two, It’s Three, etc. Wilbert Das, the creative director of Diesel, has worked with Victor Bellaish on the selection of 33 finalists from all over the world. The award, won by Einav Zucker, consists of €13,000 with which the winner can start his own atelier and create a new Collection for the following year’s competition. The Diesel Award, for €2,500, which went to Daniele Controversio, offers the opportunity to produce and distribute in the best Diesel shops a mini-Collection of 5 pieces labeled with the name of the young designer.

OTB Group Acquires Maison Margiela

In 2002 Renzo Russo founds the OTB group which became the parent company of fashion brands Diesel, Maison Margiela, and companies Staff International, specialized in ready-to-wear production and distribution. OTB group acquires the maison Martin Margiela. This Belgian designer, who went to school in Antwerp, already an assistant to Jean-Paul Gaultier, works for Hermés, but since 1988 has also had his own maison in Paris. But he needed a strong partner to help him develop further, and he found one in Italy, in the person of Renzo Rosso. The head of Diesel intends to promote a five-year development strategy for the brand.

Diesel StyleLab Runway 2001
Diesel StyleLab Runway 2001

In September 2002 DieselStyleLab, the men and women’s avant-guard line, chooses New York for the first time and returns to the runways of the Bryant Park Pavilion after several years away, for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. The line was launched in 1998 but, after having presented in London (September 1998, October 1999) and Paris (October 1999), it undergoes a period of static presentations during Milan’s Fashion Week.

Forbes magazine lists Diesel among the 32 top luxury brands. The return to the formula of runway presentations and the choice of New York also indicate a strategic change and particular interest in the American market. The Collection is often inspired by the aesthetic-cultural contrast between East and West, as in the typical black leather jacket manufactured in a Japanese fabric with kimono-shaped sleeves.

Financial Information

Back in 2001, Diesel’s U.S. turnover hit $93 million, an increase of 43%. By October 2002 the company receives “high profits with double-digit growth in sales, an increase of 10% over the €365 million of 2001, which had already increased 38.8%.” This is the Diesel group forecast for 2002, as declared by Renzo Rosso at the Milan Fashion Global Summit. The group plans a thorough review of the points-of-sale, in which the single-brand shops, of which there are 180, including 95 company-owned, are to be favored over the multi-brands.

In June 2003 Daniele Controversio, winner of the Diesel Award 2002 in Trieste, joins the creative staff of DieselStyleLab. Also, the women’s shoe Collection by Diesel receives a prize at the Sportswear International Fashion Awards (SIFAS). Diesel shoes are manufactured under license by Global Brand Marketing Inc. of Santa Barbara, Calif., which sells its products in more than 130 countries. It owns the Pony and Dry-shod brands and is a licensee for Nautica, Mecca, and Xoxo shoes.

In September 2003 Australia is Diesel’s new target market. The first store opens in Sydney. Another one is to open soon in Melbourne. In December The turnover is reported €780 million, of which 85% comes from abroad. The gross operating margin of 22%, with a net profit of €74.8 million, almost hits 10%. The cash flow is €120 million. Renzo Rosso’s motto;

“Fashion companies must be directed by their managers. Real industrial managers must lead their companies and make every single area more professional. That’s what I did.” As to decentralization, he maintains that “some production cannot continue here: it is the price market’s rule. If you go too far away, you won’t survive. The important thing is that the brains stay in Italy.”

Diesel Marketing Strategy

The brand portrays itself as someone who questions current trends, while allowing their own taste to lead them. The message communicated is usually a mix of irony, black comedy and tongue-in-cheek humor that garners both praise and backlash. This combination of rebellious image with the classic 1950’s American culture has introduced some of the most timeless pieces, such as, biker style, leather jacket and the denim.

“We think to be cool is better than to be big”, said Rosso. It is really time for the brand to become cool and fresh again and so the current rebooting strategy of Diesel is not about change; it’s about going back to the origins. The interest of the brand lies in culture, music and people. Th??e challenge lies in breaking down people’s existing perceptions of Diesel, instead make them feel extraordinary.

The cohesive collection of Diesel sets itself apart from the rest by introducing an ‘alternative taste in fashion’. Their main power lies in the transformation of the year old working class look into luxury. They thrive on breaking the societal stereotypes through its gender“less” style statement that provides an individualistic voice to its audience.

Diesel’s reboot of the entire brand is about elevating the quality and revamping the product, both within and beyond denim. It’s about bringing fresh air and modernity to the collections. The biggest change is in ladies’ apparel, an innovative mix of leather with a feminine touch. The brand is challenging its own knowledge to bring a full-blown collection that is appropriate for the advanced contemporary market.

Through 2004 the company’s communications strategy continues. A new advertising campaign has also been promoted. “There are 30 acid, dreamy, daily trips, the so-called day dreams,” explains Antonella Rossi, the marketing director. “They are the dreams of each one of the 30 protagonists who present the pieces of our Collection; but then, in the video, these dreams shift towards rather uneasy, ironic, atmospheres.” Irony, innovation, unpredictability, creativity, desecration: these are the strong elements of Diesel’s communication.

Diesel Spring/Summer 2004 Campaign
Spring/Summer 2004 Campaign

Then, in October Renzo Rosso sells two thirds of his Only The Brave Srl shares, the family holding which controls the Diesel group, to his oldest sons, Andrea and Stefano. “They asked me to teach them how to manage a company: I’m happy because I have always feared that one day they may prefer to stay out of the family business.”

By December, Diesel, the owner of Margiela, intends to double the turnover of the Belgian maison in the next five years (the present turnover is about €30 million). Excellent competitive and economic-financial results for the group. The turnover is €1,004.2 million (€909 million from the Diesel brand), up 27.5% over the €788 million of 2003. The pre-tax results are excellent: €204 million, against €128.8 million in 2003, with a net profit of €112.2 million, an increase of 50% compared to the €74.8 million of 2003. The net borrowing has gone down, from €167.5 million to €48.8 million. At December 31st 2004, the group had 173 directly managed stores, of which 21 opened in 2004, while the workforce increased from 2,561 in 2003 to 3,348 in 2004.

In recent years, Diesel has reorganized its market strategy, positioning the brand in a premium segment, investing in research and quality, reorganizing the distribution structure, and reducing the world-wide points-of-sale from 10,000 to 5,000. Also excellent are the results for Dsquared, a brand acquired in 2001. The Martin Margiela brand has also grown consistently.

In 2005 the conquest of the Spanish market continues. After the opening of a first store in Barcelona in 2002, there are openings in Bilbao, Madrid, and Valencia, and a second one in Barcelona. Also, in  May a new store opens in Hong Kong.??

In 2007 Diesel signed a partnership with L’Oréal’s luxury product division to launch the first  line of fragrances, which is called ‘Fuel for Life’. More collaborations were done the following year with Fiat and Adidas.

Diesel Black and Gold

Diesel Black and Gold 2015 Campaign
Diesel Black and Gold 2015 Campaign

A new premium sophisticated clothing collection, Diesel Black Gold, was launched in early 2008 at the New York fashion week. In the same year Diesel launched its home and textile collection. And later the OTB group acquired Victor & Rolf. Greek designer Sophia Kokosalaki started to play primary role in the collection from FW 2010, her first debut as Diesel Black Gold female designer was in New York on February 2010.

In 2010, the companies most controversial campaign “Be Stupid” won a Grand Prix in the Outdoor Lions category at Cannes but was banned in the U.K. by the Advertising Standards Authority.  Same year, a deal was signed with the Italian Ducati team of MotoGP. Diesel created its presence by creating race suits and clothing for the Ducati team.

Diesel "Be Stupid" Campaign 2010“Be Stupid” Campaign 2010

OTB Group Acquires Marni

In 2013 Nicola Formichetti was appointed as the new Artistic director of Diesel, and later in 2014, he unveiled his first fall/winter collection in Venice.  Meanwhile the OTB group, parent company of Diesel, bought 61% stake in Italian brand Marni, and in November 2015, OTB acquired the totality of Marni.

Diesel Campaign 2015
Diesel Campaign 2015

2016 marks brand’s 30 years of presence in Japan. To celebrate the brand held an exhibition with Diesel’s key denim look from 1978 to now, furthermore, brand launched three collaboration collections exclusively distributed in Japan.

Current Situation

Diesel Naomi Campbell Child At Heart
Diesel X Naomi Campbell Child At Heart

In April of 2017, Diesel has revealed its charitable collaboration with supermodel Naomi Campbell  in aid of her Fashion For Relief initiative, called Child At Heart. This project featured colourful love hearts and ladybird designs created by children attending the Diesel HQ kindergarten in Italy.

The company is currently in the mindset to reboot the brand with the mission to recapture the hip factor that made it great in the 1990s. Currently, OTB is the parent company of Diesel. Along with Maison Margiela, Marni, Paula Cademartori, Viktor & Rolf, and Brave Kid, specialized in childrenswear production and distribution. Also, Staff International, manufacturer and distributor of DSquared², Just Cavalli, Maison Margiela, Marni and Vivienne Westwood.?

Diesel 2017 Campaign
Diesel 2017 Campaign

ANTONIO MARRAS

In the world of Antonio Marras, art and fashion fuse to produce a raw interpretation of his imagination and creativity, influenced by his Sardinian roots. Born in Alghero, in 1961, his father Efisio Marras owned a number of textile shops, which Marras took over after his death and revolutionized into fashion boutiques.  

Index

  1. The Origin: Antonio Marras
  2. First Collections
  3. Antonio Marras Art Director of Kenzo
  4. Antonio Marras’s Collections
  5. 10 Year Anniversary Book
  6. Current Situation

The Origin: Antonio Marras

In the world of Antonio Marras, art and fashion fuse to produce a raw interpretation of his imagination and creativity, influenced by his Sardinian roots. Born in Alghero, in 1961, his father Efisio Marras owned a number of textile shops, which Marras took over after his death and revolutionized into fashion boutiques.  

Antonio Marras Deigner Portrait
Designer Portrait

His debut into the fashion world emerged after being invited by an Italian fashion house in Rome to design a prêt-à-porter collection in 1987. Marras showcased a collection under the “Piano Piano Dolce Carlotta” label. The collection was inspired by the 1964 American psychological thriller film, Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte, which reflected his passion for movies.  His multifaceted skill set, being comprised of the cultural intelligence, artistic enthusiasm driving his self-expression, and the know-how inherited from his family’s textile business paved his journey into the world of fashion.

First Collections

He presented his first haute couture collection in Rome in 1996, inspired by the Sardinian aesthetic, presenting the “ligazzio rubio”  which translates into the “red thread” the latter became the persistent aesthetic element of his style.  In 1999, Marras presented his first prêt-à-porter collection in Milan invoking elements of the Sardinian poetics.

Antonio Marras First Collection 1996
First Collection in Rome 1996

In December 2001, Stardust published a book on Antonio Marras, written by Cristina Morozzi. The book was showcased in the Cappellini showroom in Milan with photographs by Berengo Gardin.  Shortly before the presentation of the menswear collection at Pitti Uomo, a striking exhibition opened in Via dei Banchi Vecchi in Rome, at the A.A.M (Architecture and Modern Art) gallery.

Some of the simple, male inhabitants of Lodine, a small Sardinian village in the middle of the countryside, met with Antonio Marras and agreed to take part in his project. They became models for a day and Marras, together with the photographer Salvatore Ligios, revolutionized the traditional rules and stereotypes of virility with images of 20 Sardinian men. Circolo Marras was born, a project combining art and fashion, where the designer’s clothing is interpreted by everyday people, captured by Ligios’s photographs and text by Flavio Soriga.

Antonio Marras Circle Marras Project
Circolo Marras Project

The following year, a major milestone in the journey of Marras was the debut of his menswear line in a spectacular presentation at the 62nd Pitti Immagine Uomo, in the Torre del Gallo, a historical building located on the hills of Arcetri in Florence. 

Antonio Marras Art Director of Kenzo

In 2003, Marras was appointed by the LVMH group as the Art Director of Kenzo, a journey the lasted until 2011. During that time, all collections were planned at his home in Sardinia with other Kenzo officials staying over at his place for few weeks. Marras moved to Paris to the headquarters of Kenzo to oversee the progress while maintaining his Sardinian roots as a source of inspiration without wavering from Kenzo’s code of aesthetics.

Antonio Marras for Kenzo SS 2011
Antonio Marras for Kenzo SS 2011

Antonio Marras’s Collections

Antonio Gramsci (like Che Guevara) became icon-as-decoration for Antonio Marras’s T-shirts and shirts. In black on white shirts or in fuchsia on baggy sweatshirts. At the start of the runway show, the designer read from one of the Letters from Prison. It ended with a shower of letters raining over the spectators like subversive flyers. The invitation included Gramsci’s phrase “I hate the indifferent”, taken from La città futura.

In March 2003 the Antonio Marras Fall-Winter 2003-2004 collection presented at Milan Fashion Week was inspired by Eleonora d’Arborea (1340-1402), the last Sardinian queen, famous for having created the “Carta de Logu,” a form of ante litteram constitutional map. The focus was on black, with a few red touches in the kilt worn over baggy pants with large boots. Gauze, silk, velvet, embroideries, soft jackets, and voluminous skirts, all decorated with different chains in metal and folk-style bijoux.

Antonio Marras 2003 Fall/Winter Collection
Antonio Marras 2003 Fall/Winter Collection

Later in May at Masedu, the museum of contemporary art in Sassari, Massari presented Il racconto della forma, a stylistic journey through clothing, with designs, photographs, videos and installations. The Spring/Summer 2004 collection for Milan Moda Uomo was dedicated to the sea. It was inspired by the film Fitzcarraldo and the book Sea and Sardinia by D.H. Lawrence. The set design for the runway show was the ocean liner, the Conte Biancamano, in the Museum of Science and Technology in Milan.

July 2005 marks the inauguration in Alghero of the exhibition Minyonies, curated by Giuliana Altea and Maria Luisa Frisia. The name of the show comes from the word in Alghero dialect that means ‘childhood.’ Thirteen artists of the most recent generation presented their work, focusing on the home setting and family emotions.

10 Year Anniversary Book

In 2006, Antonio Marras celebrated his ten years of career with a book “TEN YEARS AFTER” in collaboration with Russian American photographer Yelena Yemchuck. The book was made of different kind of papers and sewn by a thread called “ligazzo rubio”, a stripe of red fabric that has become a distinctive kind of his production.

In 2007, Marras signed an agreement with Interfashion, a Stefanel Group owned company, for the licensed production of his second line I’m Isola Marras, which was later appointed to the company Loma. In 2008, Marras designed the costumes for the famous opera musical “Orfeo ed Euridice”, that was presented  during the inauguration of Teatro Grande of Alghero’s Congress Palace.  In the following year, Marras established his first flagship store in the Middle East, in collaboration with the luxury retailers Al Ostoura International; this marked his first attempt of expansion in the Middle East.

Antonio Marras Isola Marras SS 2014
Isola Marras SS 2014

Although he never completed a formal education in art or fashion, Marras received an honorary degree from the Brera Academy of Art in 2013. Furthermore, his involvement spanned beyond the worlds of fashion and art. In 2015 he started supporting NEVER GIVE UP, a non-profit organization for the prevention and treatment of eating disorders. In that same year, he signed a two year collaboration with Segno Italiano agency in Milan for consultancy services on space management for Salone del Mobile.

Current Situation

In 2015, the Antonio Marras global sales were estimated at about $11 million. Currently, the brand is presented in seven stores  located in Moscow, Kuwait, Milan, Alghero, Seoul, and most recently a boutique-restaurant in Dubai. The Antonio Marras line is distributed at around 140 multi brand stores worldwide, while the I’m Isola Marras line is available at around 300 stores. Marras aims to further expand in the United States and China.

Antonio Marras Salone Del Mobile
Exhibition at Triennale

In a spectacular exhibition at the Triennale Design Museum in Milan, Marras presented “Nulla dies sine Linea. Life, diaries and notes of restless man” which celebrated his artwork over the last twenty years and his visual trajectory. The exhibition lasted from October 22, 2016 till January 21, 2017, marking the birthdays of Marras and his wife.

DONNA KARAN

Donna Karan is an American designer who created Donna Karan New York and DKNY clothing labels. Her most Successful line is DKNY which targets young, active, and urban clientele who appreciate a casual elegance.

Index

  1. The Origin
  2. Anne Klein
  3. Her style
  4. DKNY Launched
  5. LVMH Purchases Donna Karan International
  6. DKNY PR Girl
  7. Brand Development
  8. Current Situation

The Origin

Donna Karan Portrait
Donna Karan Portrait

Donna Karan is an American designer, born as Donna Faske in Forest Hills, Long Island in 1948. She decided to become a designer when very young, having been surrounded by the world of fashion from childhood, her mother, father, and uncle all worked in the industry. After high school, she attended the Parson’s School of Design in New York. She spent the Summer of her second year, working for Anne Klein & Co. She was later hired as their assistant designer.

Anne Klein

Donna Karan at Anne Klein in 1980
Donna Karan at Anne Klein in 1980

In 1974 Anne Klein died suddenly and Karan became the stylistic director at the age of 25. In 1982 she created the diffusion line Anne Klein II, which already bore her hallmark clean and modern style. Two years later these qualities were distinguished in her eponymous Collection, Donna Karan, which was the surname of her first husband who she married in 1973 and divorced immediately after. The launch of her own brand was made possible by Takiyho Inc., Japanese company owner of Anne Klein & Co.

Her Style

The Collection, dynamic and essential in style, introduced her concept of the seven easy pieces. She proposed an intelligent wardrobe composed by few interchangeable pieces, perfect to wear in every moment of the day for a working woman, to whom she looks with particular attention. The color black is still the basis of her Collections today, a non-color that she regards as a canvas ready for painting. She reintroduced the leotard, proposing it in new, tight modeling stretch fabric to wear as clothing with a jacket for the office, and with a necklace for the evening.

DKNY Leotard Campaign 1990
Leotard Campaign 1990

The versatility and simplicity of the leotard had a huge impact on the dressing style of the second half of the 1980s, when there was a renewed interest in physical fitness and the leotard was capable of embracing this. Karan’s wrapping forms are typical of her style to accentuate the feminine lines and hide its defects. She uses cashmere, preferably in black, to stimulate the senses. Since the start of brand, new lines have been launched and new stores have opened every year.

DKNY Launched

In 1988 Karan extended her women’s ‘Donna Karan New York’ line by creating a less expensive clothing line for younger women, called DKNY. DKNY is the most successful line proved through record of sales. It is medium expensive with a target young, active, urban clientele who appreciates a casual elegance.

DKNY Commercial in 1990
DKNY Commercial in 1990

Several agreements have concluded on license, one of the most important is the one with Estée Lauder for a line of cosmetics in 1997. The Donna Karan empire now includes: women’s, men’s, and children’s wear, with lines ranging from elegant to casual, as well as accessories, cosmetics, and interior decor lines. Her second husband, Stephan Weiss, who she married in 1977, manages the company. It is a business that employs 2,000 workers and is quoted on the New York stock exchange. During the 1990s, Karan embraced the New Age philosophy in an attempt to find an existential balance in her frenetic life. She said:

“Everything I do is a matter of heart, body, and soul”.

Her personal and economic involvement is very important to her on the social front. She participated in two committees for the struggle against AIDS and in a charity for the research on ovarian cancer. She has won the Council of Fashion Designers of America award on several occasions, as well as the Coty American Fashion Critics award and other awards in the course of her career. Her old college honored her with an ad honorem degree in 1987. She lectures regularly at the Parson’s School of Design and she is on the committee of directors. Several books have been written about her, her style, and her ascent to designer of international fame.

LVMH Purchases Donna Karan International

In April 2001 the designer announced the sale of Donna Karan International for the sum of $250 million. The purchaser is the French group Lvmh, which had already acquired Donna Karan’s holding company. The total sale amounts to $643 million. The brand’s headquarters remain in New York. Lvmh’s intention is to ferry the company towards a luxury market. In 2002, DKNY re- launches its kidswear in collaboration with CWF (children worldwide fashion). DKNY jeans joined the American White House’s anti-drug campaign with release of a calendar that asking celebrities what their anti-drug is. Fourteen celebrities, including musicians and actors such as Enrique Iglesias, Brendan Fehr and Jay Hernandez, were featured in the calendar.

Donna Karan DKNY Fall/Winter 2003
DKNY Fall/Winter 2003 Collection

Later in May 2003 Donna Karan International announced that it would not produce a men’s Collection for the first time since 1992. Also, a convergence of the different facets of a woman’s life were seen on the runway for DKNY f/w 2003. The schoolgirls, the career woman, the preppy, and the punk there was something for everyone. The year 2003 reflected the sidewalk of the dynamic New York City; the spring collection was a revisit to the retro tinged dressing. DKNY hosted the Vanity Fair “In concert” to benefit Step Up Women’s Network, musician Mya and actress Chloe Sevigny attend the event at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. The first flagship store for Japan was opened in Omotesando: Shibuya Ward, Tokyo.

In 2004 the company re-Launched the menswear collection and the unconventional location for DKNY show marked one of the most remarkable year in its history. The menswear and womenswear collection was for the Urban Dwellers, the style ambitious, the time starved: The New Yorkers. Also this year, Donna Karan International and Luxottica Group S.p.A. signed a five-year licensing agreement for the design, production and worldwide distribution of Donna Karan and DKNY prescription frames and sunglasses.

In 2005 Donna Karan was awarded with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” to recognize her outstanding efforts in the industry. Since 2005, Donna Karan has offered online shopping of its DKNY lines at the label’s web site. Products range from womenswear, accessories, shoes, baby clothing, and the PURE collection to menswear.

Mark Weber, the former chief executive officer of Phillips-Van Heusen, was appointed as the creative director for Donna Karan International replacing Jeffry Aronsson. The venue of DKNY show still remains a statement for the brand the 2006 spring collection was presented in Manhattan’s Classic Car Club, where models reclined amid streamlined roadsters in clothes borrowing style from the sixties.  

After the death of Karan’s husband in 2001 suffering from Cancer she felt the need to convince medical professionals to treat the patient, not just the disease, so  she established the Urban Zen foundation in 2007. Also, the company launched its first collection with Stardoll in August, an online community for female fashion lovers. In Spring 2008 brought back the seventies, the iconic jumpsuits was played with great bounce and upbeat energy.

DKNY PR GIRL

Donna Karan Aliza Licht
Aliza Licht

Donna Karan started on social media in 2009 as one of the first luxury fashion brands to be in the space. The DKNY PR girl on twitter and tumblr, managed by Aliza Licht became a portal to engage consumers and reply to their complaints. Also, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the brand’s launch it focused on its bag collection and released seven new items each season starting autumn. Celebrations continued as the spring 2009 collection venue was switched from its usual standing-room-only to Bryant Park. This season saw a great connection with street wear than the previous seasons. The collection was embracing the momentum of fast fashion. Wearable basics with a hint of fun.

2010 was a year where DKNY launched itself into being a staple part of any girls wardrobe. It was mix of the mother-daughter style. DKNY ethos the buy now –wear now value through its collection through fall and spring 2010. Karan designed the prestigious Clinton Global Citizen Award in 2010, an honor to acknowledge the work with the Urban Zen Haiti Artisan Project. Karan was honored with a Gordon Parks Foundation Award for using creative means to change and educate the world.

Brand Development

At the beginning of 2012, DKNY opened its first stores in China and Russia. The company targeted fashion-minded fans via a new Facebook application that allows users to follow the creation of the brand’s dresses from start to finish. The Atelier Facebook app gives brand enthusiasts the opportunity to learn more about their favorite dresses from Donna Karan.

The #UK2012 was a campaign started to re-open its store in London, DKNY reached out to 50 industry influencers and asked them to begin discussing it using the #UK2012 hashtag. For DKNY, #UK2012 became a trending topic on Twitter with no paid media. It was also covered by the Wall Street journal as an extremely successful campaign.

Fall menswear DKNY presented its latest menswear collection at the glass-walled Nasdaq Market Site building, the first men’s brand to do so. The collection showed a new detail with every jacket having an iPhone pocket hidden in it.

During the 2013 MET Gala, an event to which most people do not have live access, DKNY made its own Twitter Ball to invite consumers to view the live stream with the brand. The online event tagline was “if you’re not invited, you’re invited.” The event generated 408 user tweets mentioning @DKNY, @VogueMagazine and #METGala . Vogue also streamed @DKNY tweets on its Web site during the night.

Donna Karan Art Installations In Time Square
Art Installations In Time Square

DKNY expanded its outdoor advertising efforts through a variety of art installations around the world. It commissioned 10 artists from 10 cities; New York, London, Paris, Milan, Dubai, Kuwait City, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul and Tokyo to create outdoor art that interprets New York City. In addition to the microsite, DKNY h also released an augmented reality app for iOS and Android that invites users to take photos of each work to pull up a contextual video. To spark further engagement, a 10 x 13-foot piece of 3D art in London was moved among three undisclosed locations. To find it, users had to seek out clues on Twitter and Facebook.

Though primarily a branding campaign, there is a sales tie-in: DKNY released a #dknyarts collection featuring work printed on tote bags, scarves and other items.

Donna Karan Cara Delevingne 2014
Cara Delevingne Collection 2014

2014 started with a campaign which included a special collaboration with Cara Delevingne for a capsule collection, and also an Instagram contest to find the perfect models to shoot with Cara in New York. As a result, just within the first 12 hours of the campaign, there were more than 23,000 submissions with the specific hashtags.

DKNY marked its 25th anniversary revisiting some of the line’s greatest hits, Carrie Bradshaw made pieces like the low back naked dress particularly famous during this period. Also, DKNY launched in the middle eastern market by a capsule collection during Ramadan. Partnering with notable celebrities it reached a wider audience.

LVMH Sells DKNY

LVMH agreed to sell Donna Karan International to G-III Apparel Group for $650 Million. Then, in June 2015 Donna Karan steps down from the label. Aliza Licht leaves DKNY PR girl portal following Donna Karan. Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne appointed as the new Creative Directors of DKNY. In addition, Hector Muelas was named Chief Image Office of Donna Karan International. After such huge changes the year ended by the design of the new logo of DKNY, the typeface Franklin Gothic replaced the blocky lettering, the logo was launched in spring 2016.

Donna Karan Creative Directors Dao Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne
Creative Directors Dao Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne

Chow and Osborne made attempts to retain the brand identity as being a mature womenswear brand. They decided that 40% of the global media budget will be invested digitally. This was a significant step for the brand, which invested 5 percent in digital in 2015.

The company participated in the NEW INC series, a part of DKNY’s collaboration with the museum’s New Women Project, which provides support to female artists. Also, they launched an Experiential Bus Tour Campaign for the DKNY #BeTempted Perfume Launch. It was created around a promotional bus tour that travelled across the UK with a bespoke photo experience on board.

Current Situation

Donna Karan DKNY 2017 Campaign
DKNY 2017 Campaign

In 2017 Bella Hadid is the muse for the new DKNY campaign. Also, there is a new partnership deal with Farfetch’s Black & White Division, DKNY is trying to connect with consumers on multiple levels. DKNY co-creative directors Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne exited the company January, along with DKI chief executive officer Caroline Brown.

DKNY is re-launching  its site to  accelerate e-commerce for shoppers and trying to capitalize on Farfetch’s proprietary technology. Features such as intuitive navigation, individualized messaging, wish list features, a localized homepage and a fully responsive mobile platform and offer same-day shipping in New York, London, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, with Manchester to follow.