In a recent trip to London and Paris, strolling down Sloane street, Bond Street, Faubourg St Honore and Avenue Montaigne, we couldnt help noticing the contrast between the empty Dolce Gabbana and Roberto Cavalli stores and the busy Gucci, Hermes or Louis Vuitton stored. We wondered, was it just the crisis to blame or was it also a identity crisis of the 2 reputed Italian brands, coupled with poor strategic management.
The years of the shiny, goldy and glitzy Dolce and Cavalli seem to be gone, consumers being more and more inclined towards basic, classical and heritage design.
We would argue the current economic crisis has surfaced the real issues facing the 2 independent brands: positioning of the brands and a style dilemma. While Gucci, Hermes and Louis Vuitton are associated with quality leather products and Valentino, Armani and Dior with their exceptional fashion products, Dolce Gabbana and Roberto Cavalli do not have an obvious association.
Before the crisis, independance was a virtue and an added selling opportunity. Yet, those times are gone and many specialists wonder whether the independence of the 2 brands would really pay of in the long term.
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