How Casadei’s ‘Naked’ 60th Anniversary Collection Is Inspired by Andy Warhol

In its 60th year, Casadei is future-proofing its business with a little help from Andy Warhol. To celebrate this anniversary, the house is releasing a special “naked” capsule collection of slingback pumps in six colors. The uppers are done in a mix of clear plastic and poppy shades, while Casadei’s signature blade heel comes encased in Plexi and reimagined in a new 6-centimeter kitten height.

FN got an exclusive preview at the Casadei atelier and factory last month in Italy’s footwear heartland, San Mauro Pascoli. Creative director Cesare Casadei showed us the pop art images from his mood board that inspired the collection but also explained the deeper resonance of Warhol’s Factory.

“It was 360 degree art,” he said, citing all its intertwined elements from moviemaking to communications and advertising. “It was a whole community of people — artists, singers, models — all living together and sharing the same world. Connection makes you richer. We need these connections.”

Fittingly, Casadei has chosen to launch the collection on April 17 during Milan’s Salone del Mobile art and design fair.

A shoe from the Casadei 60th Anniversary Capsule Collection
A shoe from the Casadei 60th anniversary capsule collection.
CREDIT: Courtesy

Indeed, 60 years after it was founded by his parents, Quinto and Flora, Casadei remains a successful family business. 2017’s revenues come in at 33.5 million euros ($41.5 million) with a growth projection of 8 percent for 2018. In terms of retail sales, the top three territories are Eastern Europe (it has recently opened a store in Moscow) and Europe, EMA and China, and the United States. When it comes to online, however, it is the U.S. customers who are the biggest takers.

Casadei moodboard
Casadei moodboard
CREDIT: FN staff

The label, is, however, also set on expansion in both the Middle East and China. Two stores are scheduled to open in Doha, Qatar, in the second half of 2018 (one shop in shop and one monobrand) with three further openings scheduled for China.

Bucking the trend for site-specific stores, the Casadeis want their customers to feel instantly at home wherever they are in the world. All the boutiques or shop in shops are designed by architect Marco Costanzi. “We want them to be welcoming, to have the same atmosphere, so people feel as if they are entering their own personal closet or dressing room,” said Cesare. This feminine aesthetic is created using tactile fabrics like velvet and warm woods such as walnut. Each boutique does manage its own customer database, though, taking a very direct approach to service via personal phone calls and WhatsApp messages.

Third-generation Casadei Arianna, Cesare’s daughter, is responsible for overseeing the brand’s e-commerce alongside the company’s global marketing and communications strategy. It is under her watch that online revenue has grown 57 percent in the past year after she redesigned the homepage and relaunched the site. “It’s astonishing,” she said of the growth. “We used just to sell the Blade, as that was what the customer recognized, but now we sell across all categories.”

A 3600-degree approach is crucial, too, when it comes to customer experience, she noted. “If you’re posting a story on social, there needs to be a newsletter coming out on the same day. Also the e-commerce landing page has the same pictures, and there is the same push in the boutiques, as well.”

Her timeline and attention to detail is just as strict as that of production itself. It’s the same, she said: “If you don’t deliver everything on time, it’s a waste.”

Arianna and Cesare Casadei
Arianna and Cesare Casadei.
CREDIT: FN staff

The Casadei 60th anniversary capsule collection launches April 17 ion Casadei’s e-commerce and in select stores in Milan, Rome, Florence and Rimini in Italy, and Cannes in France.

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