Yet the Gilmar story also involves the discovery of new young talents and the manufacturing of major brands under license, such as Marc by Marc Jacobs, Giambattista Valli and, starting with the spring/summer 2013 collection, N°21 designed by Alessandro Dell’Acqua (with whom the company signed a five-year contract). Frankie Morello, the smart and sassy menswear line by design duo Maurizio Modica and Pierfrancesco Gigliotti that debuted in 1999, is another Gilmar license brand, one which since spring/summer 2004 has included a women’s line (distributed by Gilmar as of 2005).
A further result of years of scouting is Brooksfield, a brand now in the Gilmar portfolio that back in the 1980s captured worldwide attention thanks to the contemporary appeal of an easy Anglo-American casual chic style.
Always moving forward, they later drew upon the spirit and strategy behind the main line to talk to the new generations by launching, with the collection for fall/winter 2006-2007, the youth-oriented Ice Iceberg brand.
The process also included a series of new buildings, starting with a two-story family villa/workshop where the latest Gilmar designs intermingled with the toys of daughter Patrizia and son Paolo who by then had come along, and where the children’s bedrooms initially served also as stockrooms. Eventually they constructed a warehouse out back, but in no time that too became insufficient. Due to local urban planning regulations, any further expansion would first entail demolishing the family home which for Giuliana’s father represented forty years of hard work. While sad about it, Luigi went along with the move for he realized that company development depended on it. To be sure, booming business led in 1985 to the creation of a state-of-the-art industrial hub in San Giovanni in Marignano.
AN ULTRAMODERN FACTORY
The place is an impressive production/logistics center where thanks to the seamless merging of tradition and technology fine craftsmanship takes on an exquisitely contemporary connotation. The secret lies in the fact that all computer input re pattern making and size development, in addition to Gilmar’s famous graphic prints and embroideries, is the work of man and his at once invaluable and inexhaustible creativity. This 45,000-sqm structure holds the mind and heart of the company, in particular the styling, prototype, quality control and shipping departments. The customer warehouse, with a precision-perfect carousel system, can accommodate up to 250,000 garments. The idea for it came from Silvano Gerani, who after seeing a similar one at a Volkswagen plant in Germany figured that if it worked so well for auto parts it could surely do the job for clothes too. Ever in charge of business organization, real-estate expansion and production management for the family company, Silvano Gerani had a custom carousel system installed complete with in-house staff of technicians to ensure smooth operating at all times.
N°21 is the new project of women’s wear followed by Mr. Alessandro Dell’Acqua. The brand saw its beginning with the presentation of the Autumn-Winter 2010/2011 during the Milan’s Fashion Week.
The philosophies of N°21 are the searching for a perfect imperfection and the mix of femininity with an eye to the world of the male wardrobe, is a sophisticated daywear while having sporty details and modern lines and innovative.
Since its debut N°21 has found increasing attention from press, buyers and celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow, Diane Kruger and Jennifer Garner.
Iceberg debuted on the market in 1974, back in the days when sportswear began marking the biggest mutation in modern patterns of dress and, along with, codes of behavior. For its part, Iceberg set in motion a twofold transformation: not simply sportswear, but knit sportswear.
Iceberg embarked on the challenge by launching a collection of pullovers designed and developed in collaboration with Jean Charles de Castelbajac, then a major budding talent. Gilmar had invited the young creator to work for the new brand and together – as pioneers of the golden age of Italian ready-to-wear – they contributed to forging the country’s future.
A remarkable project requires a remarkable ad campaign. Namely, one featuring a gallery of brand ambassadors of the caliber of Andy Warhol, Carla Fracci, Vivienne Westwood, Luciano Benetton, Franco Moschino (so including fashion personalities who agree to pose for another label!). Photographer Oliviero Toscani masterminded and pursued the strategy from 1980 to 1986. And while now celebrity endorsement is par for the course in advertising at the time the concept took the scene by storm. With Steven Meisel behind the lens, in the 1990s the ads spotlighted Farrah Fawcett, Sofia Coppola, Iggy Pop and Isabella Rossellini; in 2000, rather, the hot young female rapper Lil’Kim made an outstanding appearance.
Iceberg is synonymous with a dynamic fashion-forward vision reflecting an American Pop Art slant (art genre of which Gilmar owners are avid collectors). This vision comes through in the wide range of products – from watches to shoes, childrenswear to homewear, all the way to exclusive mineral waters – that over the span of nearly forty years Iceberg has created thanks to a keen brand extension strategy. Originally ideated to meet changing consumer tastes and needs in the aftermath of the late 1960s sociocultural revolution, Iceberg evolved into the true force of a highly autonomous quick-response company still 100% controlled by the founding family.
Born in 1974, Iceberg became a byword for a dynamic fashion-forward vision with a fresh American Pop Art slant (art genre of which the Geranis are avid collectors). This vision comes through in the wide range of products – from watches to shoes, childrenswear to homewear, all the way to exclusive mineral waters – that over the span of nearly forty years Iceberg has created thanks to a keen brand extension strategy. Originally ideated to meet changing consumer tastes and needs in the aftermath of the late 1960s sociocultural revolution, Iceberg evolved into the true force of a highly autonomous quick-response company still 100% controlled by the founding family. Specifically, Silvano Gerani is chairman, Paolo Chief Executive Officer, while Giuliana and Patrizia are both active as members of the board and in creative spheres of the business.
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So, in 1964 on Via Mancini in downtown Cattolica they opened Boutique Luciano, basically the first stand-alone Gilmar retail store. Visionary decisions such as this one contributed significantly to the company’s growth.