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Badge of exclusivity

As a brand, Ferrari has always been able to connect with a broad public. In June, the marque launched a new fashion collection, under the creative direction of Rocco Iannone. The new line is not just about clothes but, as is the case with Maranello’s cars, is all about the brand’s philosophy: exclusive, but never exclusionary
Words – Serena Tibaldi
Photos – Ilaria Magliocchetti Lombi

‘Finding Rocco was the most complicated thing,' explains Nicola Boari.

Ferrari's Chief Brand Diversification Officer continues: 'Aside from the requisite abilities and curriculum, we needed someone who had respect for the brand, someone who knew first how to tell a story, then how to sell a product. He has what it takes.’
The Rocco of whom Nicola Boari is talking, is Rocco Iannone. With a past as creative head at Pal Zileri and, previously, as Menswear Designer at Giorgio Armani and designer at Dolce & Gabbana, Iannone has been Brand Diversification Creative Director at Ferrari since 4 November 2019.

His first goal: create a new collection for men, women and children which is truly in tune with the values of Ferrari. This was the collection that was presented along the actual Maranello assembly lines during a special fashion show on 13 June.

A glimpse inside the Milan showroom reveals Iannone at work, sketches of items for the new Ferrari fashion line, and prototype garments on mannequins

Nicola Boari continues: ‘When I explained to Rocco the idea the first time we met he told me: “If you’re thinking about a niche collection for a few, it can work but I’m not the right person. If, instead, you want to put yourself to the test and launch a project that is truly for everyone, then count me in.” He completely understood what we were thinking.’

The 37-year old, sitting next to Boari, nods, adding: ‘The Ferrari ideal is something of uncommon power. In its over 70 years of history, Ferrari has accompanied the evolution of Italy’s culture, becoming part of it: my own ideas of Ferrari have developed through cinema, music and the mythology surrounding it.’

It was from this starting point that Iannone began to think of a fashion collection that could appeal to a truly broad base: ‘The popular appeal of the brand to the broader public cannot be denied. It is part of everyone’s lives, regardless of their wealth and interests. Therefore it was essential to work with this mindset, respecting the brand’s role in society. Ferrari is an exclusive brand, but it is not exclusionary.’

The show to unveil Ferrari's first luxury fashion collection took place on the actual production line inside the Prancing Horse's Maranello factory in Italy

Workmanship, materials and design reflect the Ferrari ethic, with results that are also accessible to what Boari calls brand admirers – in other words, not just hardcore fans. ‘Obviously there are truly luxurious elements in the collection, because 10 per cent of those who visit our stores are Ferraristi. But next to a €3,000 leather trench there is a €130 T-shirt, made with that care and sense of aesthetic that define us, so that it is perceived by the wearer as being a luxury product.’

This strategy has led to the creation of a merchandise offering that is somewhat “leaner” compared to the average: a single, annual collection – without seasonality – accompanied by a series of seasonal capsule collections throughout the year. It will be offered in Ferrari’s own stores – in total less than 20 locations – as well as online, with an initial focus in Italy, the United States and United Arab Emirates, and then in China in 2022.

Nicola Boari, Ferrari Chief Brand Diversification Officer (left) together with Rocco Iannone, the marque’s new Brand Diversification Creative Director, in the Milan showroom, looking over sketches of items designed for the Ferrari fashion collection

Keeping in mind strategy and creative possibilities, what was the real challenge for Iannone? ‘I think the key is not losing sight of the founding values of Ferrari whilst at the same time applying a contemporary interpretation to those values. The brand’s visuals have always evolved alongside the historical context. I see myself as the interpreter of this phenomenon: I have updated the visual codes and rites of this universe so as to render them comprehensible – and appealing – even to a younger public. Let’s not forget that young people are the main fashion consumers.’

The programme is clear, but it will not necessarily be easy to execute. In fact, this collection is not the Prancing Horse’s first foray into fashion. ‘I think that previously the right person to interpret the brand – the way we interpret it in the cars – was missing,’ reflects Boari. ‘Nobody buys a Ferrari just to go from point A to point B, and not even to drive fast. Once experienced, however, you remain committed, you appreciate its uniqueness. 'The same is true for clothes: who needs another collection? For this reason, we are aiming to be not just a fashion brand, but to create a new channel through which to communicate our values. I’d say we are talking about lifestyle,’ he says. ‘Of a style of life, literally.’