MILAN — OVS has big plans for its Piombo collection — just don’t call it a capsule.
The Italian retailer will open 500 corners under the Piombo banner on Sept. 22 and chief executive officer Stefano Beraldo, together with Massimo Piombo, bristled at the idea that the collection could be viewed as anything but a long-term project.
“I don’t believe in capsules,” Beraldo said during a joint interview with the Italian men’s wear designer at the central OVS showroom, which featured a model of the Piombo corner to be rolled out.
“This is a long-lasting project that sees OVS investing in human resources and production capacity,” echoed Piombo, who is also creative director of OVS and launched the Piombo line with the retailer in 2018. After opening three freestanding stores under that moniker, Beraldo is showing just how much he believes in the brand’s potential with the 500 corners in the chain’s units in Italy.
Piombo fits well with Beraldo’s strategy for OVS, leveraging value for money and an increasingly sustainable take on clothes. In the wake of the pandemic, “consumers are more rational and less inclined to buy fashion that can be discarded quickly,” he contended, and there is “more respect for the environment, more attention to quality and awareness of the relation between the fabrics and the price tag. Prices need to be justified.”
Beraldo also touted OVS’ efforts toward transparency, certifying the origin of the styles carried by the stores. “Beauty that will last is a priority. This is why Massimo’s designs are right for OVS, which provides sourcing for a talented creative mind, with top fabrics at the right price. We know the value of the fabrics and we don’t inflate the prices for higher margins.” A full Piombo look can retail for up to 300 euros.
Piombo agreed. “I have always believed that spending too much money shows lack of culture in general,” he said. He touted OVS’ “superior” sourcing platform, which allows him to create total look collections for different occasions and with “a real, full-fledged brand — this is not just a collaboration.”
After all, OVS worked for years with the late Elio Fiorucci on the Baby Angel brand, for example, or on the store’s label Grand & Hills, with Davide De Giglio, who would go on to create New Guards Group.
The corners will cover around 648 square feet and blue will be the main color, given it’s Piombo’s favorite hue, with touches of yellow graphics. “I always say you can’t get bored with blue, just as you can’t get bored with someone you love,” Piombo mused.
OVS is investing shy of 20 million euros, split between around 15 million euros on product development and the remainder on marketing and the stores.
Despite the impact of the pandemic, Beraldo said OVS was performing “better than expected and very well in August and September” because, in addition to its affordable, quality range of products, OVS “has not betrayed its traditional position of a retailer that communicates with Italian families, evolving as they evolve, and open to inclusivity, in direct contact with its customers.” In 10 years, OVS has grown to an 8 percent market share from 2 percent.
In the 12 months ended Jan. 30, sales totaled 1.37 billion euros, down 1.5 percent compared with the previous year. Beraldo touted a strong reduction in the group’s purchase of merchandise, as well as collections that are based on sustainability and quality. “We are less reliant on impulse buying,” he said. This allowed OVS to cut back on its promotions and to contain inventory. The online channel is showing brisk activity and, during the lockdown, it reported triple-digit growth.