IT Holding Group
The Gianfranco Ferre S.p.A. is the holding company that coordinates the fashion business of the Ferre label. It is owned by Gianfranco Ferre (Creative Director) and Franco Mattioli (Chief Financial Officer) in equal shares. Recently, Ferre announced that the group plans to become listed at the Milan stock exchange in 1999. In order to prepare for this movement Ferre started to rearrange the holding significantly. First step was the recruitment of experiened management personnel under the guide of Giuseppe Cipriano. Next step is the reduction of the number of subsidiaries from today 21 to four or five in the future. Another move is the acquisition of the apparel producer Dei Mattioli, which is owned by Franco Mattioli. Ferre also seems to be interested in acquiring some of his contractors, in order to have more control over the production.
The company achieved total sales of 950 billion Lira ($589 million) in 1994, an increase of 15% over 1993, which had shown enjoyed a similar increase over 1992 sales. Ferre's 14 licences contributed 58% to total sales in 1994. In 1996, total sales were already at 1250 billion Lira ($811 million).
70% of Ferre sales are achieved in export, where the US appears to be the biggest market with growing importance. Italy still holds 20% of the sales, but the success of the Ferre Jeans business in the US seems to shift the focus here. The Studio .0001 by Ferre line, produced by Italian garment manufacturer Marzotto, is basically targeted at the US market.
Ferre distributes in 17 exclusive boutiques worldwide (1994) and has over 250 sales points in total.
Studio .0001 and Forma O is produced by Marzotto, one of the biggest Italian garment manufacturers. The sportswear collections Oaks by Ferre and Ferrejeans used to be manufactured by Italiana Manifatture S.p.A., but recently Ferre contracted those lines for the next ten years to Ittiere, who also furnish the bridge collections of Dolce&Gabbana, Verace, and others. The range of licenced products is wide, including shoes, stationary, luggage, home furnishings, and perfumes. The latest addition to this list is the license given to the Swiss watch manufacturer Swatch.
Gianfranco Ferre pictures the women who wear his clothes as "in movement, dark-haired, scintillating and brilliant." He likes his women to be dressed in feminine curved lines, asymmetric or subtly restrained silhouettes. His garments are usually graphically created in strong shapes and bright colours. Highly sensitive to form and outline, Ferre shows collections that bear the hallmarks of one whose early training was in the careful study of detail, in analysis and in planning. His intellectual approach to design, produces powerful and controlled clothes which are often folded and layered to create his precise statements. Ferre has become noted for his expert use of stark colours, especially red, black, white and gold, and his extravagant use of luxurious fabrics such as fur, leather and taffeta. He is however still able to insert a little fun into his garments, like this dress made of cane in a basket weave, for Spring 2000. One of the garments with which he is always connected, is the white blouse. He is renowned for the way he sculpts white cotton, silk, or his favourite organza into so many shapes. He has taken the white shirt and made it his own, elevating it far above a humble shirt. He uses beaded cuffs, lace ruffles, collars that soar like birds or that cut loose with billowing sleeves. He is the king of the white shirt.
Harmony, geometry, finesse, free-flowing silhouettes, volume and fullness, classic yet modern, are some of the expressions used to describe the creations of Gianfranco Ferre. He has been called the "Frank Lloyd Wright of Italian fashion" comparing him to the great American architect.