Chicago Tribune (Sunday)

Ferrari enters luxury fashion, targeting youth

The 74-year-old carmaker launches itself into a new era as a lifestyles brand

- By Colleen Barry

MARANELLO, Italy — Ferrari V12 production cars were suspended over the factory floor on a recent Sunday night as the 74-year-old luxury carmaker launched a new era as a lifestyles brand, with a runway show unveiling its first ready-towear collection targeting a younger generation that might not be aware of its Formula One racing pedigree and coveted performanc­e street cars.

Models walked along the halted production line in a symbolic gesture that underlined the creative interplay between Ferrari’s long lineage of sleek, curved automotive bodies and the fashion line by creative director Rocco Iannone, strong on structured outwear contrastin­g with fluid, bright printed silks in Ferrari red, Scuderia yellow and electric blue.

Iannone’s collection could easily have narrowly targeted Ferrari’s already loyal customer base — mostly more mature consumers who fill waiting lists for the nearly 10,000 annual production of luxury cars that start around $200,000 — with more staid driving clothes in quiet luxury fabrics and flat driving shoes.

But instead he went bold, starting with trenches, bombers and parkas intricatel­y modeled to give the appearance of a shell, branded with the famed Prancing Pony logo placed discreetly on the nape, and including clever rubberized accents on pockets and sleeves to recall the automotive heritage.

“The young generation­s have the power to express the energy and the power of a brand,” Iannone said of the target audience. The 35-year-old designer was previously creative director at Pal Zileri after more than a decade at Giorgio Armani and a stint at Dolce&Gabbana.

The coats were complement­ed by daywear that included silky midi skirts in new Ferrari prints featuring collages of classic racing cars and the Ferrari logo. The youthful streetwear feel was sophistica­ted, with oversized Ferrari branding on shirts, complement­ed by wide shorts with reflective tape or loose-fitting trousers sportily fastened at the ankle.

Footwear included steel stiletto moccasins with rubber soles for women, or trekking sandals with flashes of color and a sneaker collaborat­ion with Puma for men. Accessorie­s included big Prancing Pony crystal earrings, trailing Ferrari-branded belts and futuristic sunglasses by Rayban.

The seasonless collection will be trickled out in six drops this year, with 80% meant to be genderless and available in a range of sizes from XXXS to XXXL.

The runway collection is part of a brand diversific­ation project that could contribute up to 10% of Ferrari’s bottom line within a decade, said chief brand diversific­ation officer Nicola Boari. The project encompasse­s retail and licensing, which has been completely overhauled since 2019, entertainm­ent, including Ferrari theme parks in Barcelona and Dubai and a new e-sports venture, and luxury experience­s for Ferrari owners.

Even though Ferrari is among the most recognized brands in the world, Boari said he is not taking for granted that younger generation­s have the same knowledge and passion as their parents.

He spent his first year in the new post slashing 50% of the licensed products — mostly aimed at Formula One fans — that did not match Ferrari’s luxury cachet. But Boari said the key is balancing exclusivit­y with a move to be more inclusive by reaching out to a generation that isn’t, for the moment, interested in Ferrari’s automotive range.

“Someone is saying: ‘Aren’t you scared of becoming too approachab­le?’ ” Boari said. “I think the risk instead is if we don’t do this, we become irrelevant and not known.”

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 ?? ANTONIO CALANNI/AP PHOTOS ?? Models wear creations as part of the Ferrari ready-to-wear women’s and men’s collection in Maranello, Italy, earlier this month.
ANTONIO CALANNI/AP PHOTOS Models wear creations as part of the Ferrari ready-to-wear women’s and men’s collection in Maranello, Italy, earlier this month.

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