A step and a curve from the famous Duomo in Milan is an arched façade with a long block, which in the evening is illuminated with rich scarlet lighting. But you don’t have to see the red light and the logo to know almost immediately: this place belongs to Ferrari. The traveling horse closes in the windows, and the stylized tile font, named after the automaker, is written on red awnings.
And yet this front is not an exotic car show. Instead, this is Ferrari’s second store dedicated to its new line of ready-to-wear clothes. The brand premiered its side line in fashion in June 2021 with a huge presentation on the catwalk, held at the company’s home base in Maranello, Italy. His first store opened in Maranello soon after. Third on Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles will break the tape this fall; a property renovation in Miami will follow, and many more are planned.
Ferrari’s automotive division is extremely lucrative, amounting to over half a billion dollars in 2020. And the brand remains among the most iconic in the world because of how carefully Ferrari feeds this Prancing Horse. So all this begs the question: What is it now? And why? In Milan, Rocco Ianone – the creative director of the new line, whose experience includes skills in Armani, Dolce & Gabbana and Pal Zileri – outlines the thinking of the label.
As he describes it, the thought process is clear. “Ferrari was recently ranked as the strongest brand in the world,” he tells me. (At least one indicator is true: Iannone refers to a ranking made by a research group called Brandirectory. In 2021, WeChat surpassed Ferrari for first place, but Ferrari was the winner in 2020 and 2019) tons of people know about Ferrari – rooting in the Scuderia Ferrari F1 team, longing for their street cars, making rap songs about owning these cars – not so much, we can say, I engage with the goods of the brand. “With that in mind, we decided to raise awareness with the younger generations, expand our fan base through a diversification strategy, and include as many people as possible,” says Iannone. This variety includes Ferrari theme parks and focuses on new Formula One races such as this year’s in Miami. And clothes. “You don’t have to own a Ferrari,” he said. “It’s more for the people who love brand and I want to participate in some way. “
Ferrari, like other supercar suppliers, has long produced goods. Iannone quickly notes that this is not it. Instead, it’s a Ferrari-powered high-end line running parallel to the column’s product. And while Ferrari designers know exactly how merging flipping lines can turn everyday life into something deeply exotic, the transition from a simple commodity product to a truly premium ready-to-wear one is a different kind of task.
“We are moving from a merchandising approach to a design approach. To do that, you have to develop the design with legitimacy, ”says Iannone. “We realized how disappointing our trade offer was; it was difficult for customers and it was difficult for us to recognize Ferrari’s dream in what we were selling. “
The opening in June held year-round retail options. Iannone notes that Ferrari will show its collection (both women’s and men’s clothing, much of it unisex) only once a year, with “drops” happening six times next year, building on what is seen on the track. The focus of the debut was on individual, with a significant ratio of outerwear.
And everything looks – of course – like a Ferrari, albeit from time to time in less expressive ways. “I approached it from two different creative angles,” says Iannone. “The first is what I call an anatomical creative angle. This is related to the aesthetics of our cars. Surfaces, lines, tendons. It is very interesting to understand the intention of our car designers and I talked to them a lot. The human body is an inspiration for Ferrari cars. Our proportions, waist, hips, our curves. This is our anatomy. The second is what I call iconography and how we manifest ourselves through our logos and visualizations, of 75-year-old images. ”