Men’s Labels Broaden Mix

FLORENCE, Italy — To stand out in a weak environment, Italian men’s accessories brands are expanding their product offerings and focusing on service.

At Pitti Uomo, held here from Jan. 13-16, many labels said they were venturing into new categories for the first time.

Prada-owned British footwear brand Church’s debuted its new accessories collection, which included weekend bags, luxe ties and scarves, blankets and small leather goods, among other accessories. The brand also is growing its footwear collection and introduced a new country line featuring sturdy, yet lightweight laced-up styles in untreated, purposefully unfinished calf. Like many other brands at the show, Church’s rolled out looks inspired by Clark’s iconic Wallabee style.

A spokesman for the brand said he had seen a strong international buyer contingent at the show, but noticed fewer retailers from the U.S. and Russia.

Apparel player Brunello Cucinelli introduced its first footwear line, inspired mostly by traditional British style. The company’s namesake chairman and CEO said he was looking “for a new harmony between classicism and originality” with the brand’s designs.

Lotto also experimented with new looks in its Lotto Leggenda collection, launched last year. Sneakers had a rock edge with metal chains and details or were embellished with pop art motifs. “The world of sports fashion is changing,” said Roberto Carpignani, commercial director at Lotto. “We are developing the brand’s fashion content to raise the perception of Lotto.” Carpignani added that he was pleased with Pitti’s visibility and attendance, although he, too, noticed fewer American visitors. “And there’s a lot of cost-cutting, with fewer models at booths,” he said.

Aside from new product offerings, many brands were focusing on meeting customers’ demands in a difficult climate.

“Given our production facilities, we are able to offer a la carte service,” said Stefano Moreschi, CEO of Moreschi, based in Vigevano, Italy. Moreschi said the collections are always “very comprehensive” to please different markets and demands. “We are fortunate in that we work with 75 countries around the world, but at the same time, we have to meet so many different requests,” he said. Generally, Moreschi shoes require between 250 and 350 manual steps.

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