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TRIESTE — Confirming that generally actions count more than words, Diesel and OTB SpA chief Renzo Rosso was seated second row at the final show of the 13th edition of ITS, the International Talent Support contest sponsored by the fashion brand which closed in Trieste, Italy, on Saturday night. The event bestowed the Fashion Collection of the Year award to the British Katherine Roberts-Wood.
As a wise captain, Rosso let some of the stars of his big team shine in the front row. Among them, there were new entry Consuelo Castiglioni, who officially made her debut within the OTB portfolio last year when Rosso acquired a 60 percent stake in the Milanese luxury fashion label, along with Nicola Formichetti, creative director of Diesel, controlled by the group. Formichetti handed the Diesel Award to the British Zoe Waters, who won a sum of 25,000 euros, or $34,000 at current exchange, along with the opportunity to do a six-month internship at the Diesel headquarters in Breganze, Italy.
That said, Rosso continues to be very focused on different projects. After having admitted on several occasions that he has found in Formichetti the right personality to guide his beloved Diesel brand, Rosso is not only concentrated on managing his OTB group, but is also particularly involved in the activities of the renovated Italian Fashion Chamber. - It’s not by chance that this year Camera Nazionale della Moda chief executive officer Jane Reeve was in the ITS jury and assigned an award to one of the finalists, Slovenian Natalija Mencej.
“The Italian Fashion Chamber is starting to have a good presence of relevant personalities on board, who can give important advice to the institution. I’ve always been deeply involved in the development of new creativity, but the Italian fashion system hasn’t ever,” said Rosso, putting the accent on the necessity for the Italian fashion industry to form a new generation of designers. “I’m giving a lot to this project, I’m making my people available and we are passing good materials to the Chamber to get in touch with fresh designers. Jane [Reeve] is very open-minded and for me it’s easy to deal with her.”
“The future of any industry is to put the seeds for a new generation,” noted Reeve, who said she is going to create an advisory board inside Camera Della Moda to develop “a mentoring process.” According to Reeve, the board will consist both of experts of the sector and young designers who have already established and developed their own business.
“We need to keep supporting young talents and I think the most important thing is the aftercare,” said Formichetti. “We can give them prizes, but what really matters is to connect them, give them advice off the records and offer them concrete opportunities.”
Rosso also praised the work of the new Italian government and its support to the country’s fashion industry – Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, along with the ministry for economic development, supported the latest edition of Pitti Uomo with an investment of 2 million euros, or $2.7 million at current exchange, and promised to finance more fashion initiatives.
“Fashion accounts for 12 percent of Italy’s gross domestic product and finally our government has started to realize how important our sector is for the country. We are not only creating business volumes, but Italian fashion companies also represent an incredible attraction for international people and our logos are stable banners on the most important streets in the world. I’m really glad that the government is finally aware of this,” Rosso said. “I have a great dialogue with the Prime Minister – he is doing great, he is very much in line with me. He has a vision and a proactive attitude that distances him from his predecessors - Italy is a great country and finally we have the chance to eliminate that dark part which damaged it in the past. The government can actually give a huge contribution to that Made In Italy which is the real capital of the luxury industry.”
On his own company’s side, Rosso marked that the focus is to keep developing the brands in the OTB portfolio. In addition to Diesel and Marni, OTB controls Brave Kid Srl, which manages under license the production and distribution of children’s collections for the Diesel, John Galliano, Hello Kitty and Dsquared2 brands; Staff International SpA, which holds licenses for the production and distribution of the Dsquared2, Just Cavalli, Marc Jacobs, Maison Martin Margiela, Viktor & Rolf and Vivienne Westwood brands; Neuf Sarl, holder of the Maison Martin Margiela trademark, and Viktor & Rolf BV.
Asked about the possibility of acquiring new labels, he said that there are currently no plans, but that he keeps the doors open at the same time.
“We have good brands on board, including Margiela and Marni and it would be a shame to distract attention from them. There is a lot to do and embarking on additional projects could take too much energy,” Rosso explained. “However, we remain attentive to what’s hot on the market and if something interesting comes out, we will make our own evaluations.”
Meanwhile, the Diesel brand is lining up a slew of initiatives, boosted by Formichetti’s energetic and captivating attitude.
“I’m super happy, this is a family,” Formichetti said summing up his first year as creative director of Diesel. The designer, who couldn’t restrain himself from proudly showing Instagram images of Beyoncé wearing Diesel outfits during her American tour, also said he was very satisfied with the feedback from the Diesel stores on the performance of his first collection for the Italian brand. “This month for the first time my collection is in the stores and it’s selling so well – I simplified the collections, it’s all about clothes you can wear and it’s going to be better and better. We are changing the atelier, there is a really good mix of people - half of there were already in the company, the other half are new,” he explained.
In addition, Formichetti said that in the next few weeks Diesel will unveil the new fall/winter 2014 campaign by Nick Knight – “we are pushing boundaries,” he commented, - and that the brand will launch a men’s and women’s capsule collection in September. “It will be about sportswear, very colorful, very Diesel in the Nineties,” he revealed.
“Nicola is very active on all different fronts,” said Andrea Rosso, creative director responsible for all of Diesel's licenses, citing for the example the involvement of the designer in the creation of the new advertising campaign for the brand’s watches, which are produced and distributed by Fossil.
In the wide scenario of Diesel licenses, the son of Renzo Rosso noted that the company is especially focused on expanding its home collections. “We are working both with [licensees] Foscarini and Moroso to find new materials for the collections and at the same time we are considering opening our doors to new partners in order to complete our home offering.” Diesel will organize an event in collaboration with its partner Seletti at Paris-based trade show Maison & Object and, coinciding with the fair, Parisian store Merci will host a special corner dedicated to the Diesel products manufactured by Seletti.
Aiming to enlarge its license portfolio, Andrea Rosso also said that Diesel is looking for a partner to launch a new line of headphones – previously the company had a licensing agreement with Monster - and he reveled that in September a line of strollers developed in collaboration with Bugaboo will be unveiled.