Ferrari races into high fashion

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6edd26f1 1e95 4a76 a566 5ca518cda8bb

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Already synonymous with the sleekest of sports cars, Ferrari is making a bid to attract fashion hypebeasts with a new ready-to-wear line that champions logos, monthly product drops and media partnerships.

Ferrari’s debut ready-to-wear collection will launch via a physical catwalk show in its hometown of Maranello in northern Italy on Sunday. The company has put together a well-credentialed team to strengthen the collection’s positioning as a serious fashion offering: masterminded by Bureau Betak (the production company behind Kim Jones’ debut show for Fendi earlier this year), the show will be styled by Vogue Italia contributor Jacob Kjeldgaard, with Yves Saint Laurent global beauty director Tom Pecheux and hairstylist (and Gucci favourite) Paul Hanlon overseeing backstage.

The event will coincide with a “Ferrari Experience”, which will invite guests inside its new dedicated fashion boutique and, starting on June 15, inside the new Cavallino restaurant led by Massimo Bottura, the restaurateur behind the Gucci Osteria in Florence.

It’s all part of the plan of Nicola Boari, Ferrari’s chief brand diversification officer, to “reach out to a wider audience and create business opportunities that are meaningful” — an objective he says he was given by interim chief executive and Ferrari heir John Elkann in 2019. (Earlier this week, Ferrari announced semiconductor executive Benedetto Vigna will assume the role of chief executive in September, with Elkann staying on as president.)

Ferrari’s new clothing collection
Ferrari’s new clothing collection

It comes just months after Ferrari’s majority shareholder, the Agnelli family’s holding company Exor, bought a 24 per cent stake in upmarket shoemaker Christian Louboutin for €541m and a €80m majority stake in Chinese luxury brand Shang Xia, fuelling speculation that it plans on becoming a serious luxury lifestyle player.

Boari says Ferrari is entering fashion “as a lifestyle brand [which will be] integrated with the core business”.

“We want to grow in a quite controlled way,” he adds, reiterating Ferrari’s previously announced goal to expand the non-motorsport side of its business (which also includes entertainment and client engagement projects) to around 10 per cent of company profits in seven to 10 years. “That was before Covid, but we will try to keep to this target of course,” he says.

Although automotive brands have lately embarked on collaborations with designers, such as Mercedes-Benz with Louis Vuitton’s Virgil Abloh, a dedicated high fashion line with an eight-person in-house design team is new territory for the sector.

Ferrari Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc wearing the new collection
Ferrari Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc wearing the new collection

Largely targeted at a youth audience, Ferrari’s made-in-Europe collection consists of menswear, womenswear, childrenswear and accessories. It, like Ferrari’s car division, prizes “performance and innovation”, says creative director and former Giorgio Armani designer Rocco Iannone, 37.

That approach has resulted in a futuristic motorsport aesthetic that sees hooded anoraks slashed with vents, trenchcoats with reinforced back panels and jeans embellished with knee pads. These are made from fabrics engineered partly from plastic bottles juxtaposed with vegetable-dyed leather. “They are technical fabrics but with a touch and feel that is very sophisticated, similar to haute couture,” says Iannone.

The collection is also plastered in brand icons. In addition to an illustrated racing car and Ferrari’s signature Cavallino prancing horse, which have been worked into knitwear and shirting, the Ferrari name is emblazoned across belts, skirts and scarves. Ranging from €120 for a logo-emblazoned T-shirt to €3,000 for a hooded coat, the collection is by no means inexpensive, though it is certainly accessible to owners of Ferrari vehicles, which start at around €200,000. The Scuderia Ferrari F1 team’s two young drivers, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, have been enlisted as the collection’s campaign stars.

Rocco Iannone, Ferrari creative director
Rocco Iannone, Ferrari creative director
Nicola Boari, chief brand diversification officer
Nicola Boari, chief brand diversification officer

Ferrari has opted to partner with the pioneering online agency-turned-publication and youth-culture bible Highsnobiety on the launch to help them “reach the brand-lovers we won’t reach,” Boari says.

Moving forward, Ferrari will eschew the traditional fashion format of biannual collections. Instead, it will reveal an annual collection in June, then follow the popular “drop” model favoured by brands including Supreme and Kanye West’s trainer label Yeezy with monthly capsule collections. These will be sold in dedicated boutiques opening in Maranello, Rome, Milan, Los Angeles and Miami later this year.

Ferrari’s foray into fashion is one that Boari hopes will “create stronger links with the younger generation which we believe is strategic from a business and brand value point of view”.

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