Rome-based Valentino will phase out its more-affordable “RedValentino” sub-brand as well as shutting down its fur subsidiary, Valentino Polar. The changes are part of a push to redefine the brand’s positioning as Italy’s leading “Maison de Couture”, the company said in a statement.
It’s the brand’s latest move since chief executive Jacopo Venturini, a merchandising guru known for playing a key role in Gucci’s blockbuster turnaround from 2016, joined last year with the aim of reinvigorating growth at the company.
Under designer Pierpaolo Piccioli, Valentino has maintained a high degree of visibility and haute couture allure thanks to poetic runway shows and high-profile red-carpet moments, such as dressing Lady Gaga for several of her appearances promoting the blockbuster film A Star Is Born. But the spotlight hasn’t always translated to momentum for its more commercial lines.
Since Venturini’s arrival, the brand has been working on “resignifying” — that is to say pushing recognisable items, like its “V” logo and “rockstud” accessories, as well as drawing more connections between commercial lines and the brand’s high-end runway universe.
Valentino’s revenues fell 27 percent to €882 million million last year, the company said in February, but flagged a “rosy upturn” in the fourth quarter, saying orders for its pre-fall collection had recovered to pre-pandemic levels.
The move to phase out fur (“in line with the values of our company,” CEO Venturini explained), will go into effect by the end of the year.
Phasing out the RedValentino sub-brand will take more time, as the brand winds down wholesale partnerships and negotiates with labor groups. The line’s last collection will be for Fall/Winter 2023-24.
Luxury brands including Saint Laurent, Dolce & Gabbana and Burberry have all moved to eliminate accessible sub-brands and focus on a single line in recent years in order to avoid diluting their overall brand perception and eliminate parallel cost structures. The brands found savvy ways to target a broader base of aspirational customers through affordable products, like t-shirts and caps, rather than by operating entire “second lines.”
Valentino might benefit from weeding out confusion, as it already has to contend with competition from a similarly-named rival, Mario Valentino, as well as as adhering to a long-standing legal agreement with that brand requiring it to use its full name, “Valentino Garavani,” when selling accessories.