Roberto Cavalli Said to Have New GM

MILAN — A restructuring of the Roberto Cavalli company is in the works.

Sources say Ennio Fontana has joined the Italian brand in the role of general manager. An official comment from the company was not available at press time.

Fontana held the same role at Philipp Plein until last summer. A longtime collaborator of the German designer, Fontana is also a shareholder in the Billionaire brand, the luxury men’s wear line created by Italian entrepreneur Flavio Briatore in 2005 and also controlled by Plein.

As reported, Plein’s business has taken a hit through the COVID-19 pandemic, and the designer expects that by the end of the year, his company will probably see sales 25 to 40 percent below 2019 levels.

The lockdown of his 200 stores resulted in a loss of 65 million euros and Plein has been restructuring and streamlining his company, which led to the exit of Fontana. Plein’s seven-story sprawling headquarters in Milan’s Via dei Giardini, which housed a Plein Sport store, closed over the summer.

In a serendipitous twist of events, when Cavalli’s previous owner, Clessidra under the Italmobiliare umbrella, was looking to exit the fashion business and sell the brand, Plein last year was said to be keen to take a stake in the Cavalli company.

Sources also contend that Roberto Cavalli plans to hire a creative director.

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The collections have been designed by a team following the exit of creative director Paul Surridge in March 2019. The designer joined the Florence-based brand in 2017 and his first collection bowed for spring 2018. He succeeded Peter Dundas, who exited the company in October 2016. The namesake designer and founder of the brand is no longer involved in the company.

Changes are indeed underway. As first reported last month by WWD, Gian Giacomo Ferraris is leaving his post as chief executive officer of the Roberto Cavalli company at the end of the year. Ferraris joined Cavalli from Versace in 2016, succeeding Roberto Semerari.

Questions were swirling in Milan over the future of Ferraris at Cavalli after a tumultuous period of negotiations with the unions and the closure of the brand’s complex outside Florence and move of the entire company to Milan, which led to more than 100 out of 170 employees losing their jobs.

Roberto Cavalli is owned by the founder and chairman of the Dubai-based Damac Properties, Hussain Sajwani, through his private investment company Vision Investments, which bought the company from Clessidra SGR in 2019.

Damac was especially interested in Cavalli because the Dubai company’s strategic investment arm Dico International is working on a five-star hotel tower in Dubai called Aykon that is expected to comprise 220 rooms and to be decorated by the brand’s home division.

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