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Luxury Demand Benefits Italian Factories

BOLOGNA, Italy — High-end international fashion brands are boosting the business of Italian luxury tanneries, according to companies showcasing their spring ’14 collections at last week’s Lineapelle show.

“The very positive moment that started three years ago is continuing,” said Giuliano Russo, CEO at Naples-based tannery Russo di Casandrino. “Large luxury groups are taking a dominant role on the international scene and they all look for suppliers that can guarantee high quality and impeccable services.”

Andrea Ramponi, owner of Conceria Stefania, located near Milan, said he has noticed an uptick in business from U.S. firms. “Important American high-end brands are improving their quality by investing on luxury materials,” Ramponi said, adding that Italian and French labels are still the biggest customers for Italian tanneries.

Asian companies also are becoming more relevant for leading Italian tanneries, including Bonaudo and Conceria Gaiera Giovanni, both based near Milan.

“Chinese clients producing luxury shoes and accessories for the internal market are still trying to [replicate] European products, and they look for very special materials,” said Enrica Miramonti, sales director at Conceria Gaiera Giovanni.

The increased demand for hyper-luxury products in the emerging markets is also accelerating the business of exotic skins, in particular crocodile and python.

Due to the limited availability of exotics, prices are increasing, said Stefania Gianassi, export director at Tuscan tannery Conceria Caravel Pelli Pregiatalso. Python and crocodile’s prices are up 5 percent compared with last year, and the price of ostrich has risen 15 percent.

Here are some of the key trends for next spring:

• Sheen analysis: Leather was super-shiny with a glossy effect, or hyper-matte for a sophisticated, more discreet look.

• All natural: Neutral tones of cream and brown took center stage, mixed with pastels, including lilac and pale blue.

• Around the world: Ethnic patterns, from Aztec graphics to Indian paisleys, were a must at the show, both in bold colors and powdery hues.

• Silver serving: Paired with classic tones or used to add a metallic touch to colorful exotic skins, silver confirmed it can be regarded as the new black.

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