PARIS — Confirming its commitment to fashion and leather goods, hard-luxury specialist Compagnie Financière Richemont has acquired a controlling stake in Italian shoemaker Gianvito Rossi.
Financial terms were not disclosed. Rossi, who is founder, chief executive officer and creative director, retains a stake in the company.
The deal comes two years after Richemont snapped up elite Belgian handbag maker Delvaux, topping up its “other” business area, composed mainly of fashion and accessories brands. These include Montblanc, Chloé, Alaïa, Dunhill, Peter Millar, AZ Factory, Purdey and Serapian.
“First and foremost, it’s a partnership,” Philippe Fortunato, chief executive officer of Richemont’s fashion and accessories maisons, told WWD in an exclusive interview, lauding the savoir-faire, unique level of taste, style and comfort Rossi has been championing, and now transmitting to his daughter Sophia. “Richemont believes a lot in family development.”
It’s also a believer in the “quiet luxury” trend that has been sweeping the market – and the potential for specialist shoe maisons.
“The high-end market is going to be a very important frontier of development in luxury. We see fundamental trends on customers buying more and more shoes,” Fortunato said in a joint interview with Rossi.
While sneakers have been a principal focus for many big luxury brands in recent years, “we see that sophisticated footwear, elegant footwear is going to be very strongly accelerating going forward,” Fortunato predicted.
Rossi cited intensifying competition in luxury, and a wish to devote more energies to designing and developing hand-made shoes that are as “pleasant” to wear as they are to look at and hold as objects.
“I was looking for a partner that could help me create a retail network worldwide, at a very, very high level and offering great service to our clients,” Rossi said.
Today the brand operates 36 boutiques in cities including Rome, Paris, Monte Carlo, London, New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul, Dubai, Doha, Beijing, Chongqing and Chengdu.
Fortunato noted that Richemont would be able to offer its real estate and retail expertise in Asian markets, where Rossi has only scratched the surface, and support its ominichannel development.
He also hinted at product expansion, with handbags and leather goods the immediate priority.
Revenues at Gianvito Rossi came in a notch under 100 million euros in 2022, above pre-pandemic levels, according to market sources. It is understood the company is well managed and profitable.
Rossi founded his namesake brand in 2006 in San Mauro Pascoli, Italy, after spending years studying shoemaking under his footwear-guru father Sergio Rossi. He opened the first freestanding Gianvito Rossi store in Milan in 2008.
Wholesale clients include Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Bergdorf Goodman and Net-a-porter.
Richemont noted that the Gianvito Rossi transaction would have “no material financial impact” on its consolidated net assets or operating result for the year ending March 31, 2024.
Earlier this month, the Swiss luxury group reported revenues in the three months ended June 30 surged 14 percent to 5.32 billion euros, fueled by a strong rebound among Chinese tourists and locals.
Its three jewelry maisons — Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Buccellati — grew 24 percent during the three-month period, while sales in the watch division were up 10 percent. The company’s other brands division rose by 6 percent at constant exchange rates.
Richemont noted the Gianvito Rossi transaction “remains subject to certain customary conditions and regulatory approvals.”