Italy's Grifoni relaunches as 'entry to luxury' fashion brand
The Italian ready-to wear-label Mauro Grifoni, renamed Grifoni, has returned to the market after a difficult period. The fashion brand was founded 25 years ago by the eponymous designer Mauro Grifoni and has been relaunched by its new owners Federico Zannini, who specialises in knitwear, and Giambattista Tirelli, who owns a stake in the Rick Owens label.
After just two seasons, the brand has already amassed 250 retailers in Italy, Europe, and Japan, and opened a flagship store in Milan last September. The store is located at number 9, via Ponte Vetero and boasts 80 square metres of retail space. The store, which is in Milan’s Brera district, rubs shoulders with brands such as Golden Goose, Msgm, and the multi-brand boutique Antonia.
Mauro Grifoni was a former seller of advertising space and first launched his eponymous brand in 1992, purchasing a small shirt tailors and starting the brand in Caldogno, near Vicenza.
With neither an advertising nor marketing strategy, the brand became successful by word of mouth, helped on by its quality products and timeless elegance. However, large investments during a difficult economy and a repositioning as a luxury brand led the business to bankruptcy. The brand was repurchased in November 2016 for five million Euros after being placed in redress with concordat at the end of 2015.
The transaction was completed through the creation of a new company, Strong srl which is 50 percent owned by Giambattista Tirelli’s business, Olmar and Mirta, which also owns brands including Gentryportofino, Uma Wang, and Fisico. The other 50 percent is owned by Market Indistrie, a garment producer that heads the labels Jucca, Suoli, and Tessa.
“When we learned that it was in trouble, we joined together to save the brand, which we value, and to save a certain Italian savoir-faire. We bought the entire company, which is still based in Caldogno, and are keeping the remaining 15 employees,” Federico Zannini told FashionNetwork.com. Zannini is the CEO of Grifoni, while his business partner is the president.
The duo remembered Mauro Grifoni’s style, which the brand had abandoned in 2012, and started straight away with a complete menswear collection followed by swiftly by womenswear. Designs have a refined urban style but remain comfortable and are both modern and timeless. The label’s upcoming collection will also include accessories.
Many old customers have returned to Grifoni, appreciating the brand’s quality. Garments sold particularly well last autumn when they were presented at Bon Marché’s “La Famiglia” event.
“The product is both conceived of and produced in Italy. We have returned to the original positioning of the brand in the 'entry to luxury' section of the market and prices range from 300 euros to 1,000 euros,” explained Zannini.
“For distribution, we have undertaken a large clean-up operation and started again with a showroom in Milan with Serbelloni. Currently, around 80 percent of sales come from Italy. The next aim is to open abroad again, where Grifoni was always seen as a safe bet, and to reconnect with our old customers in Belgium, Scandinavia, Germany, and Japan, etc. However, we want to do this with an already well-oiled machine, that is to say clear management and impeccable deliveries,” concluded Zannini.
For 2017, Grifoni expects a turnover of around five million euros and the goal is to reach a yearly turnover of 20 million euros in five years.
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