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Why does Ferrari want to get into fashion?

Cross-sectorality is the future of luxury

Why does Ferrari want to get into fashion? Cross-sectorality is the future of luxury
Looks from the new Ferrari collection
Scuderia Ferrari Collection SS19
Scuderia Ferrari Collection SS19
Scuderia Ferrari Collection SS19
Scuderia Ferrari Collection SS19
Scuderia Ferrari Collection SS19
Scuderia Ferrari Collection SS19
Scuderia Ferrari Collection SS19
Scuderia Ferrari Collection SS19
Looks from the new Ferrari collection
Looks from the new Ferrari collection

A few days after the report of Il Sole 24 Ore that spoke of rumors about a possible equity partnerhsip between Giorgio Armani and Ferrari, the Maranello house is preparing to enter the fashion game. This weekend a "fashion experience" will be presented in Maranello that will culminate on Sunday in ferrari's first real fashion show. The show will represent the culmination of a long strategy of diversification of the Ferrari brand started, as WWD reports, two and a half years ago with the aim of expanding the brand's offer in the lifestyle field. Transforming Ferrari's current merch to a real line, capable of reflecting the values of the Prancing Horse, is not a pic-nic in the park and, given the difficulties and challenges of creating an authentic fashion line, involves some risk. However, the transaction represents a necessary alignment with the values of the New Luxury that characterize today's market, in which cross-sectorality becomes a necessity also for brands such as Ferrari, which needs to maintain a cultural centrality outside of automotive and racing.  In this sense, the brand's competitors such as Maserati and Lamborghini have already made strides in the fashion sector. It is no coincidence that four weeks ago the brand equipped a moodboard page, curated by Ferrari's creative director, Rocco Iannone who began to tell the story and aesthetics of Ferrari through the curatorial moodboard format on the @ferraristyle page - something that brings it closer to the many fashion brands that voted their Instagram profile for curation of content rather than advertising.

Why is the Ferrari brand interested in fashion?

Looks from the new Ferrari collection
Looks from the new Ferrari collection
Looks from the new Ferrari collection

Nicola Boari, Ferrari's Chief Brand Diversification Officer, told Business of Fashion: «Fashion is a great way to reach a bigger audience and make the brand relevant to people’s lifestyle. But the quality of the products has to align with our values». The designer of the collection will be Rocco Iannone, former creative director of Pal Zilieri but above all former director of menswear by Giorgio Armani - a designer who is both trained in the field of the great Italian sartorial tradition and whose creativity stands as a means of communication between fashion and other cultural areas - it is not by chance that it is the culture of design of Maranello that inspired him for the collection. In the same maranello headquarters, then, a restaurant directed by Massimo Bottura will also open, a mirror operation to that carried out by the Modena chef for Gucci, with the Gucci Osteria in Florence and Los Angeles. In addition, the British firm Sybarite recently signed the brand's new and more sophisticated concept store. The difficulty lies in keeping all these activities together in a coherent vision that adds value to the brand and does not confuse a consumer who already has what Ferrari represents. 

According to Boari, the brand's diversification, which includes licenses and merch, had a retail value of one billion in 2019 – but on the quality spectrum, branded products were closer to souvenirs for fans of the brand than to luxury represented in the automotive field. Ferrari now wants to reduce overall sales of branded products but increase their profitability. The idea would be to make them account for 10% of Ferrari's operating profit in the next 7-10 years. To do this it will be necessary to bring non-automotive products on the same quality as cars. An operation that had been needed for some time, considered as the "old" ferrari licensing regime was a legacy of that licensing policy that between the 80s and early 2000s made brands of all kinds make a lot of money while compromising their image. Today, however, times have changed: brands stop being simple manufacturers and become producers of culture, which do not offer, as in the case of Ferrari, simple cars but entire concepts of lifestyle and experience. The strongest Italian brand in the world simply cannot ignore the potential of an expansion in this field: just think, on a purely fashion level, how many fabrics or graphics, how many technical fabrics or unique constructions must be kept in the Maranello archives. A treasure in intellectual heritage that, in the hands of a good designer and with the backing of Exor, which has recently become interested in the world of fashion, has the real potential to transform itself into a real luxury fashion brand.

From merch to design

Scuderia Ferrari Collection SS19
Scuderia Ferrari Collection SS19
Scuderia Ferrari Collection SS19
Scuderia Ferrari Collection SS19
Scuderia Ferrari Collection SS19
Scuderia Ferrari Collection SS19
Scuderia Ferrari Collection SS19
Scuderia Ferrari Collection SS19

On the look, Ferrari is a brand that owes everything to design and engineering, as well as being the symbol of Italian luxury par excellence. And so it made little sense that the products of a brand positioned so high had ended up in the lower end of the market, also because of their appearance that did not attract customers and the most fashion savy admirers of the brand. The potential of a luxury clothing line such as the one signed by Iannone, in fact, also lies in the possibility of obtaining the support of illustrious customers of the brand such as Justin Bieber, Drake, David Beckham or LeBron James. Without mentioning how, just as the collection that will go on the catwalk on Sunday is inspired by the design and shapes of the most famous models produced by Ferrari, a parallel could be created in the future according to which the collection of new car or custom-made models could be accompanied by the production of luxury clothing "corresponding" to its aesthetics.  The theme of realness in fashion, however, remains central. In an era dominated by aggressive marketing, consumers immediately distinguish between an aesthetically cohesive operation inspired by sincere values from a simple cash grab - precisely for this reason the profile of Ferrari Style and its curatorial approach, with the re-enactment of Ferrari's transversal presence through the various eras and places of pop culture wants to highlight the realness of the Maranello house , the solidity and concreteness of its tradition.

It is almost certain that the success of the entire operation lies in the strategy that will be put in place: certainly amplification techniques will play a decisive role in the delicate act of repositioning Ferrari as a lifestyle brand - in a way similar, but not identical, to what happened with Bottega Veneta, a senescent brand until four years ago that was able to relaunch and reinvent itself from head to toe during just two collections and that , today, is one of the most followed in the world without even having social channel. If Ferrari can capture the interest of consumers with collaborations of level designers and involving the right personalities, as well as with the actual quality of the designs, we could come to see, one day, the Rampant Horse appear in the calendar of a fashion week , as well as at the top of the Formula 1 standings.