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Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti

Celebrity endorsement backed by aggressive marketing has helped to fuel the UK success of Alberta Ferretti’s second line

Two years on and Alberta Ferretti’s decision to show its diffusion line Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti at New York Fashion Week instead of Milan in autumn 07 is paying off for its UK business, with the premium Italian brand’s wholesale customers having doubled since the move.
The rationale behind the change of location was to give Philosophy its own identity, with mainline Alberta Ferretti continuing to show in Milan. The two brands have their own strong, unique handwriting; Alberta Ferretti is more elegant, while Philosophy has a younger, edgier look. Prices also differ. At Net-a-Porter, a Philosophy-branded jersey dress is £407, while an Alberta Ferretti embroidered-neckline dress is £670.

For autumn 09, Philosophy’s 200-piece pre-collection (the catwalk line features between 70 and 80 pieces) plays on its signature look of layering. Chiffon leggings, overlaid by wool and leather skirts, are teamed with fine tops in bold shades of purple, orange and indigo, and topped off with thick, shaggy coats. Sequins used as a trim or all over coats and dresses create a futuristic look.

Soft pleats and draping contrast with more tailored masculine jackets, creating a mix of cuts, shapes and proportions to the autumn 09 range. It is this clash of feminine and masculine silhouettes, and Philosophy’s edgy look, that has made it so successful in the UK and Republic of Ireland, where its stockist base stands at 43 - and is growing, according to the brand. The label is stocked by retailers including Joseph, Harvey Nichols, Harrods, Fenwick, Chester independent Tessuti and etailer Net-a-Porter.

“Philosophy is a cool, on-trend brand and its look attracts hip youngsters like [actress] Emma Watson and [singers] Leona Lewis and Natasha Bedingfield,” says a spokeswoman for Philosophy. “But the pre-collection and catwalk line combined offer a wide array of options for buyers; it can be funky, clean or trendy depending on how you play it.”

Philosophy attributes its success to an “aggressive” marketing campaign, which never misses an opportunity to shout about the celebrities pictured wearing its designs via customer mail outs, press coverage and celebrity endorsement.

Philosophy is a jewel in the crown of its parent company Aeffe Group (a campaign shot of the brand fills its website home page), which also owns the Moschino brand. “[Philosophy] is very successful,” says the spokeswoman. “We have a big production and design structure in Italy so we are able to do research into innovative fabrics and design details, which are hard to copy by competitors or the high street.”

Essentials

  • £128 Starting price for the pre-collection
  • 725 Number of international accounts
  • 43 Stockist base in the UK and RoI

Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti 020 7838 7968 www.philosophy.it

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