MILAN — “We’ve been working hard behind the scenes for two years, but we are now reaping the results, they are evident, and people are talking about the Roberto Cavalli brand again.”
In an interview to discuss Cavalli’s retail expansion, a pleased Ennio Fontana, general manager of the fashion brand, touted growing sales, an increased number of wholesale accounts and strong sellouts.
Front Row at Roberto Cavalli RTW Spring 2023
The company is opening four new Roberto Cavalli boutiques in Europe and Asia and, in the U.S., a store at Wynn Las Vegas will bow in the first quarter of 2023. A unit in Houston is also in the pipeline, said Fontana. These follow the opening of a store in Miami in February at the Bal Harbour Shops.
A directly operated 3,780-square-foot boutique will open in Rome next month, located in central Via del Babuino, which will also carry the increasingly important home collection, in addition to ready-to-wear. The first room is reminiscent of a foyer, leading through a long corridor-gallery that houses the couture collections.
Creative consultant Fausto Puglisi unveiled his couture designs for the brand during the Cannes Film Festival in May. Fontana said additional brand visibility comes via the slew of celebrities from Jennifer Lopez and Dua Lipa to Lady Gaga and Gwen Stefani who wear the designs of Puglisi, who joined the house in the fall of 2020. “Fausto has breathed new life into the brand and a new appeal,” enthused Fontana.
A central hall is embellished with a historic skylight and the Rome venue also has a VIP lounge.
Another directly operated store just opened in Monte Carlo on the first floor of the storied Le Métropole shopping mall, covering 648 square feet and with windows on three sides of the building.
There are 12 existing directly operated Cavalli stores.
Two franchised boutiques opened in Wien and in Kuala Lumpur in addition to the existing six.
In the Austrian city, the store covers 1,026 square feet with a huge window spanning over two floors.
In the center of the Bukit Bintang district, the heart of luxury shopping in Kuala Lumpur, the Roberto Cavalli boutique spreads over an area of 1,533 square feet and features a large semicircular shop window with two green onyx back-window panels.
Fontana explained that the stores reflect Puglisi’s vision but this is “expressed in specific and unique projects depending on the city.” Elements such as travertine marble, green onyx and satin brass run throughout, combined with Roberto Cavalli Home Interiors furnishings and rugs, custom made and characterized by the brand’s signature animal prints.
All the stores also carry the Cavalli Parfum and Cavalli eyewear collections — the latter under a new five-year license inked with De Rigo unveiled last month for the design, production and global distribution of Roberto Cavalli and Just Cavalli eyewear collections to bow in 2023.
The brand’s previous eyewear licensing deal with Marcolin expired in 2020.
A Cavalli Café will open soon at the brand’s Via Montenapoleone flagship in Milan, followed by one in Saint-Tropez. Six more are in the works.
Fontana also trumpeted the potential of Roberto Cavalli’s digital in-house platform. This replaces a previous deal with Farfetch Black & White, and will go live in June. Before then, Just Cavalli’s first in-house online site will be launched in February.
As reported, the company in September formed a strategic partnership with Genny owner Swinger International for the production and wholesale distribution of the Just Cavalli sister line, which was managed under license until 2011 by Staff International, the OTB Group’s production arm.
Roberto Cavalli will also be available on Tmall soon, said Fontana.
The executive added that a new footwear license has been signed with storied shoe specialist Zengarini.
These are all steps that reflect the brand’s momentum and the commitment of its owner, Dubai-based Hussain Sajwani, who acquired the brand through his private investment company Vision Investments in 2019.
Revenues are expected to total around 84 million euros in 2022, up from 57 million euros in 2021 and 45 million euros in 2020.
Fontana said he expects sales to amount to 120 million euros in 2023.
American and Middle Eastern consumers are strong customer clusters for the brand, in addition to Italians, but Fontana said the brand is expanding its reach and being more visible in countries such as Germany, Austria and Spain, among others.
Resort towns are performing very well. Sales in Saint-Tropez grew 70 percent, 40 percent in Cannes and 60 percent in Puerto Banús at El Corte Inglés. So much so that Fontana revealed that a new store will open in the Spanish seaside town next year. “Our fun, party and evening dresses fit well with these locations,” he said.
More support is coming from Sajwani, whose property development company Damac is planning a 70-story residential building located on the Dubai Marina, overlooking the Palm Jumeirah, called Cavalli Tower and to be furnished with items from the Roberto Cavalli home division. Fontana said another tower is planned in Dubai as well as one in Miami.
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