Roberto Cavalli brand has been seeing an exciting revival under its owner, Dubai-based Damac Properties, who acquired the company from Clessidra SGR in 2019 through his private investment company Vision Investments.
While the fashion brand now helmed by general manager Ennio Fontana and under the creative lead of Fausto Puglisi is set to stage its first runway show in three years as part of Milan Fashion Week on Wednesday, Chairman Hussain Sajwani flew in from Dubai to unveil another ambitious project on Monday.
The residential project will offer 485 luxury units boasting different, high-end services, including a sea-front view; access to a sky pool and garden, as well as an infinity pool for residents of one of 70 apartments in the upper part of the tower, labeled “super luxury.”
Designed by architect Shaun Killa, the skyscraper is to offer amenities including a butler, babysitters, personal trainers, as well as chefs and at-home medical support. Damac is investing $545 million in the real estate development, which is set to be completed in four years. “There’s no bigger advertisement for Roberto Cavalli than the tower seen here,” said Fontana.
According to Sajwani, the project reflects the company’s commitment to the Italian fashion label. “In January 2020, two months down the road [after the acquisition] COVID-19 burst… The journey has been fun, we had some challenges, we had to move the offices from Florence to Milan because the latter city is the hub for fashion … but today we’re very happy with the skilled, dynamic and motivated management team,” the executive said, touting Fontana’s work at the helm of the company.
His aim is to make the Roberto Cavalli brand “as good as it was back in the days and even better and more.” Asked about how much he’s committed to investing in the company to spur its growth, Sajwani said Damac “doesn’t have any particular amount, as a company we’re quite capable and committed to invest. All depends on the developments of Cavalli, how fast they can move and how fast they can sell, but we’re very ambitious.
Sajwani previously teamed up with Versace and Fendi for residential projects. On Monday he unveiled that development, known as Aykon Nine Elms with interiors by Versace Home (licensed to Luxury Living Group), is projected to open in the first quarter next year in London’s South Bank area, in Nine Elms.
The new Cavalli Tower is set to attract European, Chinese and Russian buyers, reflecting Dubai’s changed scenario in the wake of the health emergency. Sajwani said the real estate market is doing very well in the Middle Eastern city with prices spiking by as much as 50 percent, thanks to local management of the health crisis, which boosted confidence and is expected to benefit the area with increased tourist flows and growing retail sales.
Fontana praised the support of Sajwani and Damac in mapping out the next phase for the brand. “The relationship that Cavalli has with Damac is getting stronger and stronger every day. We’ve had incredible support from Damac all over the past year and a half … to rebuild the team and start growing again, we feel like a new family thanks to Mr. Sajwani, who visits us very often,” the general manager explained.
Expressing his excitement for the real estate project and the upcoming fashion show, Fontana sees these developments as marking a “new era for the brand.” The latter entails a stronger focus on the men’s wear market, which is seen as pivotal in attracting Asian consumers. “The brand so far was very much seen as a women’s brand and while we will continue that path, with the most beautiful women wearing Cavalli on the red carpet, we want to also develop men’s wear,” he said.
To this end he referenced the brand’s recent tie-up with Mike Tyson, who starred in the video presenting Puglisi’s flamboyant men’s offering for spring 2022. Fontana said Tyson “was fighting for the mass against the strong powers … and Cavalli at the moment has a similar objective to conquer back our ring, our market.”
The Damac chairman underscored that the world is in flux and that current challenges include facing growing competition from Asia. “Today the big advantage against Asia and China in terms of manufacturing is a narrowing gap,” he offered. “Twenty years ago, the middle class would not buy Chinese products, now they are, so the market is getting narrower in the high-end range and you need to be more flexible and agile,”
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