MILAN — Lorena Antoniazzi is a family business entirely made in Italy, as president and chief executive officer Gianluca Mirabassi proudly says.
However, it is increasingly structuring itself and developing a managerial structure. To this end, two former Etro executives have joined the apparel brand, which began as a cashmere-focused line.
Alexandra Lamprecht has been named general manager, and Matteo Zaffaroni was appointed commercial director of Sterne International SpA, which owns the Lorena Antoniazzi brand.
Mirabassi said he expects their experience to be an influence on two of his children with Antoniazzi, who are both board members and work at the company: Nicola, chief operation officer, and Andrea, who after stints at Valentino and Dolce & Gabbana, holds the role of chief marketing officer. Marco Bacoccoli is the company’s chief financial officer.
“I want to bring Lorena Antoniazzi to the next level with the help of a managerial organization,” said Gianluca Mirabassi.
In an interview, he sounded upbeat, given the growth trajectory of the company, which closed 2022 with sales of 30 million euros, up 31.7 percent compared with 2021, and is a year ahead of expectations.
Exports account for 90 percent of sales, which led Mirabassi to amp up its investments in global marketing and communication, launching a campaign for fall fronted by Carla Bruni and photographed by Nathaniel Goldberg.
“I wanted someone to have a strong impact, she is internationally recognized, very elegant and sophisticated, and she perfectly represents the brand as our product is quite minimalist,” explained Mirabassi.
The brand’s logo is a discreet star and the collections include classic camel or Prince of Wales coats, but also sleek silk blouses and ladylike dresses, wool or napa pants. Its core knitwear selection is made with the most precious fabrics, in particular cashmere, ranging from cocooning turtlenecks with buttons on the sleeves; braided hoodies, or silk and wool cardigans. Total look collections were launched in 2015.
All channels contributed to the growth of the brand, which was founded by Mirabassi and his wife, the namesake designer, in 1993. Antoniazzi was previously a designer for the Erreuno fashion brand.
The wholesale channel, which comprises around 350 points of sale, last year rose 31 percent compared with 2021, and retail was up 45 percent, driven mainly by the performance of the boutiques in Paris, Ortisei, a resort town in the Alpine Dolomites, and Milan, which was recently restyled and is the blueprint for others to follow.
Lorena Antoniazzi is based in Perugia, in the Umbria region, a key cashmere production hub. In 2022, the 227 companies in the region’s pipeline recorded 2.5 billion euros in sales, reporting in the past four years a 30 percent increase in revenues and a 23 percent gain in employees.
The Umbria district represents 40 percent of the production of made-in-Italy cashmere, and Italy is the first transformer in the world of the fiber, said Mirabassi. Brunello Cucinelli and Fabiana Filippi, to name a few, are also based in Umbria.
Mirabassi has been investing in the company’s technology and academy, training around 25 artisans per year since 2013. “It is fundamental to support the generational handover,” he pointed out. “We have never delocalized and have always firmly believed in our industrial project, in the value of people and in forming the younger generations.”
Lorena Antoniazzi has been working for years also as a producer for some of the best international luxury brands, but Mirabassi was not at liberty to disclose their names.
He also proudly said that, since 2013, the collections are entirely traceable through microchips and radio-frequency identification technology.
The brand is available at its stores in SKP in Beijing as well as at Doha’s Al Hazm Mall or in Korea — a strong market for Lorena Antoniazzi — in Seoul, Busan and Ulsan among some cities. Mirabassi is aiming at returning to the U.S. after years working with Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys New York. “We had a big business in the U.S., but we suffered a setback after the Twin Towers attack,” he recalled.