Ferragamo Celebrates 80th Anniversary in Shanghai

At the opening of the exhibition "Salvatore Ferragamo: Evolving Legend 1928-2008" on Friday at the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art, the biggest crowd-pleaser wasn't the collectable bags...

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The opening at MoCA was attended by Western celebrities Christina Ricci, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ginnifer Goodwin, January Jones, and Melissa George, and Chinese actress Ziyi Zhang. They were additionally joined that evening by Hong Kong actors Tony Leung and Karen Mok, along with several other luminaries from the region.

The Ferragamo family chose China and specifically Shanghai for the anniversary "for the country's rich history and traditions," explained Wanda Ferragamo, honorary chairwoman of the company and widow of founder Salvatore.

"Salvatore Ferragamo first came to Japan in 1950, and since then the brand has had a home in the world, especially Asia," remarked Norsa at the timepiece launch. "About 46 to 48 percent of our turnover is in Asia, so one of every two of our customers is Asian."

He added the brand's three best markets are Seoul, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

The timepiece line, designed under license with Timex, makes its debut officially next week at the Baselworld exhibition in Switzerland. Forty designs are split between men's and women's and into four lines: Gancino, Vara, Salvatore and F-80. Timepieces, particularly men's watches, are generally considered one of the more successful subsets of the luxury goods business in China. "I think it is going to be one of the best markets in the world, and for men's there is huge interest," Norsa told WWD. "Our pricing of $1,000 to $5,000, going up to $15,000, is an interesting range."

Ferragamo also released a new fragrance, called Tuscan Soul. "I think there is a lot of interest in fragrances generally in Asia — for fragrances, cosmetics, all skin products," Norsa continued. "And we have a plan to develop a fragrance business in China, because you see big spaces [for them] in the new department stores, while 10 years ago, you could not even find a cosmetics or a fragrance space, and now it's becoming bigger and very visible."

Ferragamo's business in Mainland China has continued to expand steadily, with the brand's signature shoes, bags and small leather goods accounting for 85 percent of sales in the country. However, added Norsa, "We see changes where we open larger stores. One reason it was difficult to sell ready-to-wear is originally the stores were not that big, and had no space for presenting clothing."
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