Calzedonia strengthens its foothold in France with a high-profile show in Paris
Fuchsia lights and a very long red carpet welcomed more than 1,400 guests to the Palais Brongniart in Paris for the Calzedonia event. The Italian brand, founded in 1986, held its first large-scale event outside of its home country, coinciding with the first day of Paris fashion week, on Monday, September 26. Entitled "A Legs Celebration", the immersive experience paid tribute to the brand’s iconic tights and fabrics.
"Paris is the most important city in the world in the fashion industry. And what better opportunity than Fashion Week to be present and draw attention to the brand," Calzedonia Group founder Sandro Veronesi told FashionNetwork.com. The event was intended to mark a strategic turning point, underlining the importance of the French market for the hoisery and swimwear brand.
"France is a key market where customers still wear tights a lot, much more than in other countries. In Italy, we are a very established brand, while here we still have a lot of growth potential," stated the Italian entrepreneur, indicating that his plans are to make the French market the "most important market for the Calzedonia brand”.
Today, the brand operates 215 stores in the region, including franchises and company-owned stores, while the lingerie brand Intimissimi has 50 stores and the more accessible young brand Tezenis and cashmere specialist Falconeri have 20 and 10 boutiques, respectively. "Our project involves continuing to open around 20 Calzedonia stores a year," explained Veronesi regarding physical store openings, which continue to be essential for the company. "We believe that physical stores are very important. People want to be able to come into contact with the brand and to be able to touch the products, this is something that will never change," he said. In France specifically, the Italian group aims to end the year with a network of 300 stores.
The brand’s first event since this change of direction took the form of an experiental journey through three rooms, conceived by the creative agency Villa Eugénie, which represented the brand's universe, among rooms of mirrors, kaleidoscopic effects and a dance and acrobatics show featuring 60 artists. In it, the brand paid tribute to its iconic tights model, on sale since the brand’s inception, and introduced the special holiday season edition, which will arrive in stores in December. Calzedonia did not skimp on its long list of VIP guests, which included names such as Laetitia Casta, Chiara Ferragni, Camelia Jordana, Shay Mitchell and Tina Kunakey.
Meanwhile, the company's financial results seem to be on track, having already surpassed the pre-pandemic figures recorded in 2019. Last fiscal year 2021, the group posted a turnover of €2.5 billion internationally. In France alone, sales amounted to €160 million, the executive detailed, while Italy accounted for 43.9% of turnover to €1.09 billion. The conglomerate currently concentrates half of its business on the European continent, with the online channel accounting for 12% of sales. "We expect e-commerce to continue to grow," said Veronesi.
At the beginning of September, the fashion conglomerate, which bought a controlling stake in Falconeri in 2009, acquired an 80% stake in the Italian luxury brand Antonio Marras. "We are confident of the brand's potential. We want to find the right balance between creativity and business," Veronesi explained about the future of the deal, assuring that the company's goal is not to "develop an acquisition strategy" but prefers to continue growing internally. "However, we will keep an eye out for interesting opportunities," he added, without wanting to rule out the possibility of future ventures. On the possibility of launching new brands, the businessman said with a smile: "For now we already have eight, and it’s a lot of work!”
The group's investments will not only be limited to the expansion of its flagship retail chain, Calzedonia. According to Veronesi, its wine brand Signorvino will open its first flagship store in Paris, in the Latin Quarter. The executive revealed exclusively that Jennifer Lopez will become Intimissimi's next global ambassador, marking a major breakthrough for the brand's development in the United States.
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