FLORENCE, Italy — The international influence of Italian brands is once again on the rise, despite the country’s political unrest after April’s general election, which failed to produce a majority winner. Leading the way is Gucci, which continues its epic resurgence. The brand’s like-for-like sales were up 49.4 percent in the third quarter of 2017, accelerating from the 39.3 percent growth three months earlier.
The fashion house, Kering’s biggest brand and cash cow, brought in €6.2 billion in sales at the end of 2017, accounting for 73 percent of the conglomerate’s operating income. Analysts estimate the brand to generate over €8 billion in sales for 2018. In June 2018, it was announced that Gucci is seeking to reach €10 billion (over $11 billion) in annual sales, which would place the company ahead of LVMH’s Louis Vuitton as the luxury brand with the highest global sales.
The recent creative and commercial successes of Miuccia Prada, Donatella Versace and Pierpaolo Piccioli at Valentino have further bolstered Italian fashion houses’ global reception. Prada has been praised for her return to memorable form in recent seasons, while Versace followed up the supermodel-led tribute to her brother last September with a Spring 2019 menswear show in Milan with political undertones, as a way to “talk about vulnerability.” Piccioli also sustained his couture success, receiving a second standing ovation this year. His critically acclaimed collection was reported as a reminder of couture’s ability to make an impact beyond its excesses. The house’s Qatari owner plans to list 25 percent of the company on the Milan stock exchange later this year.
Although many Italian companies are still comparatively young — the majority were created after WWII, some after 1975 — Italy already has 11 brands that report over €1 billion in revenue, with Versace likely to follow soon. Underpinning the success of many of Italy’s most successful luxury brands is the country’s continuing permanence in leather craftsmanship and a number of other noted savoir faire specialities, including eyewear and textiles. According to ISTAT, “Made in Italy” exports in 2017 amounted to €6.1 billion, up by 14.1 percent compared to the first 10 months of 2016. The price per kilogram also increased by 6.4 percent, which reflected the continued appeal of high-quality “Made in Italy” products.
Indeed, Italy’s rare blend of craft and commerce combined with la dolce vita have made building a career in Milan, Rome and Florence an increasingly attractive proposition, with applications to Italy growing by 15 percent in 2017. With its mixture of established global mega-brands, ancient craft and emerging talent like Arthur Arbesser and Stella Jean, fashion career opportunities in Italy are diverse and unique to the country.
Here are the most exciting Italian career opportunities currently live on BoF Careers: