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Armani Conquers China, Chastises the Pope June 01st, 2012 @ 11:53 AM



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Fancy Ferre Performs Well Before New Owners

Godfrey Deeny
February 25th, 2011 @ 11:37 AM - Milan

In their first runway show before the new owners of Gianfranco Ferre, the house's designers Roberto Rimondi and partner Tommaso Aquilano went high-end and fanciful in an assured display of highly commercial fashion in Milan on Friday, Feb. 25.

With Dubai-based businessman Abdulkader Sankari sitting proudly in the front-row, Rimondi and Aquilano sent out a print-free, opulent take on modern grand dame fashion - precisely the sort of merchandise the new shareholder plans to sell throughout their extensive retail chain.

Sankari is the clan chief of Paris Group, a Dubai-based fashion distributor and Middle Eastern franchisee for brands such as Versace, Cerruti, Louis Feraud, Pierre Cardin and others.

"I loved the show, and though it a great collection. It's what we want to see at Ferre, a brand we know very well and have always loved," Sankari said, noting that his group already has three strongly performing Ferre boutiques in Dubai.

"Ferre is not an unknown quantity to us," said Sankari, whose Paris Group operates some 250 stores in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. His self-assured son, Ahmed Sankuri, standing beside him and sporting a stubble beard, will be the house’s new president.

Using silver lames, indented crepes and worsted fabrics, Rimondi and Aquilano cut exact, figure hugging sleeveless cocktails that reeked of rich without ever being vulgar.

Their smartest moves, however, were some great, collarless coats, combinations of astrakhan, fox and cashmere, transected by micro belts. Featuring some sleek mannish double-breasted pants suits and some splendid white dress shirts - the signature Ferre garment - the collection had all the "architectural" silhouettes one expects from this house. The late Gianfranco Ferre had a degree in architecture.

The Ferre fashion house has been on the block for the past two years, ever since its previous owner IT Holding group filed for bankruptcy after an ill advised over expansion.

The Ferre business is the last part of IT Holding to be sold, after the Malo cashmere label which was unloaded to the Evante group in October and its manufacturing arm, Ittierre, was acquired by Albisetti in January.

Since the spring of 2009, Ferre had been under the supervision of the Italian government. Sankari declined to discuss figures but his company reportedly paid some 10 million euros, or $13.7 million, plus assuming debts, for Ferre.

"We are extremely ambitious for Ferre. It's a wonderful Italian brand and name and we plan to really develop it worldwide," said Sankari, whom Italian media reports have suggested is planning to invest 130 million euros in the fashion house.

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