CollaBrands: Ferrari’s Partnerships in Food and Fashion Fuel a Luxury Lifestyle Expansion

Ferrari is one of the world’s most recognized brand names, so it is no wonder that the company is working with some of Italy’s leading creative talents to expand into a fully developed lifestyle brand that will include premium apparel, accessories, and fine dining — all natural extensions for fans of its sportscars.

In the dining space, Ferrari has teamed up with Italian chef Massimo Bottura of the three-Michelin-starred Osteria Francescana in Modena. Their first restaurant venue, opening this summer in the neighboring town Maranello, is across the street from Ferrari’s headquarters. Paying homage to the Ferrari brand’s heritage, the restaurant’s name, Cavellino, (prancing horse in Italian), is a reference to Ferrari’s brand icon, and the building was once home to a trattoria/commissary where the automaker’s legendary founder Enzo Ferrari once ate and entertained. Bottura is known for his avant-garde takes on regional Italian classic, and his new restaurant will feature both haute cuisine and an elevated environment created by architect and designer India Mohdavi.

Cavellino’s opening is timed to coincide with the Ferrari’s first fashion show on June 13, which will mark a shift away from its lucrative apparel licensing deals to a more brand-controlled and luxury-focused vision of what Ferrari can mean for fashion.

In late 2019, Ferrari appointed designer Rocco Iannone as its brand diversification creative director. Iannone previously served as head designer for luxury menswear brand Pal Zileri and designer at Giorgio Armani and as a designer for Dolce & Gabbana. Iannone’s collections for Ferrari’s own and licensed apparel and accessories lines for men, women, and children will make their debut in Maranello, with planned distribution through a new network of Ferrari flagship retailers and online. The Ferrari apparel collections will be made in Italy by luxury suppliers, while a new license for Ferrari timepieces has been granted to ultra-luxury Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille.

Exor, the Agnelli family holding company that is Ferrari’s largest shareholder, has made other recent movies into luxury fashion with investments in Christian Louboutin and in Shang Xia, a high-end brand for the China market established by Hermès in 2010.  John Elkann, chairman of Exor, reported to shareholders that the investments can offer a better understanding of the art of building luxury brands, and speculation has been building about whether Exor will aim to build the next luxury conglomerate in the mold of LVMH or Kering. Clearly, 2021 is going to be a significant year for Ferrari as it continues its foray into lifestyle branding through both fine food and fashion.

Steven Ekstract is Managing Director of Global Licensing Advisors, a consultancy that provides companies with insight and strategic direction to succeed in the $300 billion a year licensing business. Ekstract is the founder and former Publisher of License Global magazine, the leading information source for the consumer licensing business. He can be reached at steven@globallicensingadvisors.com.

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