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  1. 1. Enrico Zanon L4078882 May Submissions Essential and Principles of Fashion Marketing and Luxury Brand Management “Après Moi, Le Déluge” Is Revolution The Key Of Success? The report title is a quote which Valentino Garavani himself used to describe his eponymous brand. “After me, the storm” could be the English translation. In the documentary recorded in 2008, the designer was absolutely sure that the brand would end when he had eventually decided to retire (M. Tyrnauer, Valentino: the Last Emperor, 2008). It was not the case. 2008 represented the turning point of the brand due to the retirement of the historical - almost mythological - designer and the appointment of a new creative duo, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli. The short Alessandra Facchinetti’s short period as creative director (2007/2008) can be easily forgotten, as it did not express any relevant change in the brand management (I. Amed, Valentino: The Saga Continues, BoF, 2008). As long as this maison is concerned, it is almost necessary to split its history and development into two periods: the “pre-2008” and the “post-2008” Valentino. Not only are these two periods divergent in creative and artistic elements, but also in the branding and management aspect. When “king” Valentino Garavani helmed the brand there were no alternatives or compromises to the singular aim: Haute Couture. The fashion house was entirely committed to the luxurious and high-end sector of fashion: heavenly handcrafted and breath-taking gowns or cocktail dresses. It was not until the 1990s that the artistic but less profitable catwalks were balanced out by cash-cow products and diffusion lines (e.g. REDValentino, bags and accessories, eyewear) under the influence of the designer’s business partner and lover, Giancarlo Giammetti. This approach was absolutely in line with the time: most of the fashion houses decided to experiment with licenses in order to maximise profit (e.g., Burberry). However, for Valentino this was not enough. After the acquisition by the Italian investors Marzotto Group, numbers and profits became the priority. In few, maybe harsh, words Garavani smoothly retired and sold the company. "The world of fashion has now been ruined. I got rather bored of continuing in a world which doesn't say anything to me. There is little creativity and too much business. The young are all doing the same things”, said the fashion designer to the Business of Fashion in the critical year of 2008 (I. Amed, Valentino: The Saga Continues, BoF, 2008). On the other hand, soon after the financial battles which showed three different shareholder groups (Permira, Marzotto and Mayhoola for Investments) fighting to acquire the Valentino S.p.A (Valentino, dailymail.co.uk)
  2. 2. Enrico Zanon L4078882 May Submissions Essential and Principles of Fashion Marketing and Luxury Brand Management and a really short and negligible period under Facchinetti, the company appointed two relatively young designers as creative directors (G. Giammetti, Valentino State of Grace, Interview Magazine, 2011). Their role was clear and rather challenging: to bring the a modern dimension to the brand without ruining its heritage and public image. Maria Grazia and Pierpaolo were formerly in charge of the Valentino accessories and, due to their ten-year experience in the company, they undoubtedly knew the guidelines. How did the new designers decide to face such a mission? How could they modernise the brand without spoiling or diluting its essence of romanticism and nobility? The pedigree of Valentino has always been remarkable and immediate: the myth which surrounds both the man - Valentino Garavani - and the brand is recognised worldwide. Since its foundation in Rome in 1959, the fashion house has been the symbol of high-class, aristocratic, romantic women. The designer himself strongly contributed to creating an aura of eternal luxury: with mansions spread all around the world, art collections, fine restaurants and opulent life-style (J.J. Martin, Valentino, Harper’s Bazaar, 2007). Now, in one sense, the brand has evolved - in a sense. A new era began for Valentino in 2008. From this point there was not only a very high-quality, excellently handcrafted couture production, but also an innovative and exciting ready-to-wear line - both for womenswear and for menswear. The two creative designers established a new range of prints - camouflage, colours splash and butterflies, which has helped the brand to build up a new distinguishable brand feature. A new philosophy, befitting a new persona, has landed to the Roman headquarters of the historic brand. There used to be a very specific and undeniable persona in Valentino’s concept: an extremely elegant and charming woman, a sort of princess escaped from fairytales to live in the real world. Indeed, real princesses wore those amazing creations. In addition to this, the previous ad campaigns adopted by the brand were absolutely coherent to the narrative of this kind of targeted costumer, featuring uncommonly beautiful women, pale and shy, naive but sensual, laid in never- ending roses bouquets and delicately flirting with charming smiles. Since the aim of luxury brands is selling a story, Valentino - before his retirement - wanted to sell romanticism, bon ton, charm, sensuality and not sexuality. (Valentino S/S 2006 ad campaign, fashiongonerogue.com) M.G. Chiuri and P. Piccioli brought something radically new in the prêt-à-porter. The new costumers of the brand are edgy, up-to-the-very-second, funny and, most importantly ,young. This is a completely new direction for the brand, which now tries to appeal to an alternative “persona” (J. Iredale, The Renovators: Valentino’s Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, WWD Magazine, 2014). There seems to be no coherence between the (Terry Richardson for Valentino, www.valentino.com)
  3. 3. Enrico Zanon L4078882 May Submissions Essential and Principles of Fashion Marketing and Luxury Brand Management two marketing strategies. The new ad campaigns are absolutely playful, ironic and colourful. The artistic collaboration with the well-known - yet criticised - fashion photographer Terry Richardson worked. The accessory lines are absolutely devoted to catch ing young men and women, who want to stand out simply by wearing unusual and “frisky” bags or shoes. The idea of romanticism persists in the ready-to-wear lines both for men and women. Especially in the last ad campaign, the models are located in a very romantic and unspoiled naturalistic locations, where natural elements seem to mix with the garments. The talented Slovakian photographer is Michal Pudelka, very young and very savvy. Beauty is still the core of the brand but the new persona is more “down-to-earth” and feels less untouchable (L., Valentino Taps Michal Pudelka to Shoot Spring Ads, WWD Magazine, 2015). As described above, the new ad campaigns reflect the idea of a new customer, mostly because the idea of luxury itself has changed. According to this new reality, the target market of Valentino needs freshness and constant accessibility. Instagram, Facebook, and all the social media channels are involved in this process in order to cater to the new luxury clients. This is the reason why, soon after the resignation of “the Emperor”, the brand has quickly moved into technology and social media. The official website is highly functional and it also provides on-line shopping experience. However, even though the site is catchy, it lacks of one important feature: the customisation. The new luxury consumer needs to feel unique. The personalisation of accessories, for example, is now necessary and widely used by all the other fashion houses - e.g., Chanel, Louis Vuitton (www.valentino.com). As far as the Public Relations and celebrity endorsements are concerned, Valentino has always naturally attracted the most influential and elegant celebrities, personifying the “jet-set” lifestyle. Despite this, there was no real need for any celebrity endorsement: Jacqueline Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn, the Princess of Monaco, Elizabeth Taylor and many others wore Valentino simply because they embraced the designer’s vision of femininity. The first historical endorsement came from Jaqueline Kennedy, shortly following the death of her husband. She ordered an entire black and white collection for her one-year mourning (Harper’s Bazaar, 2007). Even if the occasion was not one of the happiest, the brand became famous all over the world for its elegance and noblesse. Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli moved a further step forward, decreeing no more top models or romantic princesses. In the last S/S 2015 collection the creative duo decided to engage another duo: Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, the “Zoolander” (S. Menkes, Suzy Menkes at Paris Fashion Week: Day Eight, Vogue, 2015). The public was rather shocked. What had happened to the almost inflexible image of Valentino? Why should a comic duo be endorsed for such a serious brand? The answer is particularly clear: whether it was a marketing/PR choice or just a shock tactic, it worked. Instagram was overloaded with photos and comments. This choice underlines (M. Pudelka,Valentino S/S 2015 ad campaign)
  4. 4. Enrico Zanon L4078882 May Submissions Essential and Principles of Fashion Marketing and Luxury Brand Management again the new direction chosen by the fashion house: targeting new and more ironic customers (K. Brown, Zoolander and Hansel walk for Valentino at Paris Fashion Week, The Telegraph, 2015). As mentioned before, the brand is now catering to a new type of client and for this very reason Valentino’s garments and accessories are available in many of the most important on- line stores: mrporter.com, luisaviaroma.com, selfridges.com, harrods.com - to name just a few. The official brand website itself provides shopping with a careful customers’ service: three different types of delivering services (Standard, Express and Cash on delivery), with the possibility of changes and refunds (www.valentino.com). (Valentino S/S 2015 celebrity endorsement, style.com) The revolutionary wind within the Italian fashion house has also involved its placement. Valentino is now “physically” present in all the five continents, covering all the strategic and economically relevant areas: from Brazil to Kazakhstan, Valentino has approximately 152 stores worldwide. All these stores have been recently renovated and restructured due to a project engaged by the creative directors. An English architect - David Chipperfield - is in charge of renovating all of the stores. The ambitious project started in 2012 with the flagship store in Milan (www.davidchipperfield.com). The creative duo is trying to mark the difference between the “pre-2008 Valentino” and the new one, also by changing the most immediate visual symbol of the brand - the stores. From the analysis above, it is noteworthy that Valentino has not always been successful, at least not consistently. When Valentino Garavani helmed the creative side of the house, it utilised a classical and more traditional approach to the market with a strong emphasis on the Couture and the brand was entirely supported by the cash-cows products and on licences (M. Tyrnauer, Valentino: the last Emperor, 2008). However, this approach was not enough. With the advent of social media and a more demanding fashion public, Valentino Garavani was not able to foresee the necessity of change. The “post-2008” Valentino succeeded in this. Though new creative direction - modern, ironic and less traditional; new marketing strategies - social media, on-line shopping, focus on ready-to-wear, collaboration with talented and young photographers for the ad campaigns; new store design - in order to underline the brand rebirth, they created real change. On (Valentino’s Man store in Paris, www.davidchippierfield.com, 2013)
  5. 5. Enrico Zanon L4078882 May Submissions Essential and Principles of Fashion Marketing and Luxury Brand Management the other hand, the success of the new Valentino lacks of a key element: the personalisation. It is not a negligible detail since the luxury market features a high demand for customisation (A. Magnusdottir, Finding my Next Move: Lessons Learned and Why Customisation is The Future, BoF, 2014). Moreover, the major competitors in the luxury sector already provide this service, causing a probable damage to the brand considered in this report. In conclusion, Valentino is the perfect example of how fashion has changed in just a few decades. The necessity of an up-dated marketing concept pushed the Marzotto family to renew the brand, starting from the very designer. It is now time for a little step forward: the luxury consumer generations change vastly and, nowadays, the customers want to feel special and unique. By providing them the chance to stand out, the company would absolutely improve their customer care, their sales and, last but not least, gain ground on all the other luxury brands. 

  6. 6. Enrico Zanon L4078882 May Submissions Essential and Principles of Fashion Marketing and Luxury Brand Management Bibliography: - Amed, I. (2008). Valentino: The Saga Continues. Business of Fashion. [online] Available at: http:// www.businessoffashion.com/articles/news-analysis/valentino-the-saga-continues [Accessed 4 Apr. 2015, 14:45]. - Amed, I. (2009). Valentino still in the Spotlight. Business of Fashion. [online] Available at: http:// www.businessoffashion.com/articles/news-analysis/valentino-still-in-the-spotlight [Accessed 1 May 2015, 15:33]. - Crivelli, G. (2012). Il marchio Valentino vola in Qatar. Il sole 24 Ore. [online] Available at: http:// www.ilsole24ore.com/art/impresa-e-territori/2012-07-12/marchio-valentino-vola- qatar-111148.shtml?uuid=Abk4xg6F [Accessed 17 Apr. 2015, 17:15]. - Davidchipperfield.co.uk, (2015). David Chipperfield Architects. [online] Available at: http:// www.davidchipperfield.co.uk [Accessed 6 May 2015, 21:03]. - Giammetti, G. (2011). Valentino State of Grace. Interview Magazine. [online] Available at: http:// www.interviewmagazine.com/fashion/valentino/#_ [Accessed 28 Apr. 2015, 22:17]. - Iredale, J. (2014). The Renovators: Valentino's Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli. WWD Magazine. [online] Available at: http://wwd.com/fashion-news/fashion-features/maria-grazia-chiuri- pierpaolo-piccioli-hard-at-work-for-valentino-8031124/ [Accessed 21 Apr. 2015, 23:15]. - Magnusdottir, A. (2014). Finding My Next Move: Lessons Learned and Why Customisation is the Future. Business of Fashion. [online] Available at: http://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/ opinion/op-ed-finding-next-move-lessons-learned-customisation-future [Accessed 23 Apr. 2015, 21:04]. - Martin, J. (2007). Valentino. Harper's Bazaar. [online] Available at: http://www.harpersbazaar.com/ fashion/designers/a61/valentino-0607/ [Accessed 28 Apr. 2015, 20:24]. - Menkes, S. (2015). Suzy Menkes at Paris Fashion Week: Day Eight. Vogue. [online] Available at: http://www.vogue.co.uk/suzy-menkes/2015/03/suzy-menkes-paris-fashion-week-day-8 [Accessed 6 May 2015, 21:17]. - Michalpudelka.com, (2015). Michal Pudelka ~ Official Website. [online] Available at: http:// www.michalpudelka.com [Accessed 6 May 2015, 15:30]. - Nnadi, C. (2015). Zoolander 2 Takes Over the Valentino Fall 2015 Show at Paris Fashion Week. Vogue. [online] Available at: http://www.vogue.com/12323181/zoolander-2-ben-stiller-owen-wilson- valentino-runway/ [Accessed 4 May 2015, 16:06]. - Siciliano, L. (2015). Zoolander and Hansel walk for Valentino at Paris Fashion Week. The Telegraph. [online] Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/film-news/11462082/Watch- Zoolander-and-Hansel-walk-for-Valentino-at-Paris-Fashion-Week.html [Accessed 6 May 2015, 11:04]. - Valentino - Online Store, (2015). Valentino Official Website. [online] Available at: http:// www.valentino.com/gb [Accessed from 10 April 2015 to 6 May 2015].
  7. 7. Enrico Zanon L4078882 May Submissions Essential and Principles of Fashion Marketing and Luxury Brand Management - Valentino: The Last Emperor. (2015). [film] France: M. Tyrnauer. - Zargani, L. (2015). Valentino Taps Michal Pudelka to Shoot Spring Ads. WWD Magazine. [online] Available at: http://wwd.com/globe-news/fashion-memopad/valentino-taps-michal-pudelka-to- shoot-spring-ads-8108958/ [Accessed 3 May 2015, 16:21].