Italian Tanneries Bullish on Luxe Market

BOLOGNA, Italy — At the three-day Lineapelle show, which closed here on Thursday, high-end Italian tanneries showcasing their collections were generally upbeat.

“This year is closing better than 2012,” said Enrica Miramonti, sales director at Milan-based Conceria Giovanni Gaiera. “The business is growing both in terms of production and requests from our clients, who keep looking for high-quality products.”

A diverse offering and strong customer service are lifting luxury company Russo di Casandrino, which will see revenues in 2013 climb 10 percent compared with 2012, according to CEO Giuliano Russo.

For fall ’14, the firm is reviewing its prices due to the soaring costs of raw materials. “In the last five years, the cost of lamb and calf skins increased 200 and 150 percent, respectively,” Russo said. “The prices of raw materials keep growing because of the slowdown in slaughtering activities caused by the fall in meat consumption.”

Still, the uptick in prices is not preventing Italian and French luxury firms from ordering high-end, customized products, Russo noted.

“The customization service accounts for a big slice of our business,” he said.

The U.S. and China are the most important markets for Tuscan tannery Conceria A Tema, which is focused on the production of high-end printed leather. “The demand from China increased not only for the products directed to the U.S. but also for the domestic market,” said Conceria A Tema CEO Massimo Testai, who lamented a stagnation in the European business.

Conversely, Europe remains a top market for exotic skins specialist Conceria Reptilis, as upscale labels continue to place orders.

According to sales manager Tiziano Niccoli, the company expects to close 2013 up 10 percent compared with the previous year. “Our growth is due to the fact that we have reinforced the partnership with our clientele and we have also found new clients,” explained Niccoli.

Here are some of the key leather trends for fall ’14:

Under the Magnifying Glass: Micro prints were big at the show, ranging from geometric patterns (including houndstooth and checks) to more curved graphics for animal-inspired effects.

Red Hunter: Red in all its shades, from burgundy and cherry to pink and orange, declared itself as the must-have color for next fall.

Embellishment Story: Soft napa leather and suede were covered with crystals, beads and sequins, showing a hyper-glamorous, traffic-stopping look.

Flat No More: Exclusive treatments, including special waxing, added extra depth to matte leather.

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