Independent luxury brands stronger during crisis

CORNELIANI joins other independent maisons such as ARMANI, CANALI, ZEGNA or HERMES which have shown positive results since the debut of the crisis. Corneliani recently announced the opening of a store within Printemps in Paris and 2 other boutiques in Beijing and Athens, in spite of the unfolding international economic situation. Armani pursues aggressively its joint ventures/ co-branded projects such as Armani Hotel, Armani Casa with Molteni and Armani cosmetics with LOreal. The spree of store openings continues for ZEGNA too, with a major opening in Dubai this month, while Hermes recently annouced the purchase of a large production facility in France.
It seems independance makes such top brands more flexible in their strategies, many having realized how important the return to their heritage quality products is, especially during crisis. Thefore, they intesified their efforts on the made in Italy and made in France products, using top quality materials.
However, not all independent maisons have shown such strength. For instance, Dolce Gabbana, Versace, Ferragamo and Etro have shown mixed results in the past months. Each of these brands had actually began showing signs of weakness months before the crisis, in most cases due to the creative direction, excessive products labelled made in China and series of unfortunate retail partnerships in several emerging markets, especially Ukraine, India and Eastern Europe.
PRADA is no exception, with its chaotic commercial strategy to be blamed for the falling sales. The recent departure of Brian Blake, head of the commercial department at Prada, a reputed strategist highlights the management struggles. At the beginning of last month Prada CEO annouced the need for a EUR 2 billion loan to continue the international expansion strategy. Such a loan is unlikely to be granted during this year and it remains to be seen for how long Prada will afford to refuse the stock exchange listing and for how long it will be able to maintain its independance.