Renzo Rosso

If You Want Renzo Rosso’s Number, Get a Mentorship at OTB

If You Want Renzo Rosso’s Number, Get a Mentorship at OTB

MILAN — Renzo Rosso continues to support emerging talents around the globe.
The Italian entrepreneur will be part of the jury for the first edition of the Yu Prize, a competition organized by fashion investor Wendy Yu aimed at promoting emerging Chinese designers. The winner amongst the 16 finalists — comprised of At-One-Ment, Chen Peng, Danshan, Donsee10, 8on8, Garçon by Gçogcn, Oude Waag, Ming Ma, Redemptive, Shie Lyu, Shushu/Tong, Shuting Qiu, Susan Fang, Yueqi Qi, Windowsen and ZI II CII EN — will be revealed in April during Shanghai Fashion Week.
Along with being part of the jury, which counts a range of high-profile fashion personalities, such as designers Diane von Furstenberg, Giambattista Valli and Jason Wu, as well as Metropolitan Museum of Art curator Andrew Bolton and Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode’s president Pascal Morand, Rosso, through his OTB group, will offer the winner a one-year mentorship. OTB, where Rosso sits at the helm as chief executive officer, is the parent company of brands like Marni, Maison Margiela, Diesel and Viktor & Rolf, as well as Amiri, in which the Italian group has a minority stake.

“I’m really happy to take part to this talent contest in China, which is becoming the biggest market for the fashion industry,” said Rosso. “I think it’s so important for a group like ours to be connected with the young talents, especially in such a fast-growing, stimulating country like China.”

According to Rosso, his group’s participation with the Yu Prize also gives it the chance to learn more about the Chinese local market and to show OTB’s loyalty to China.
As the entrepreneur revealed, the brands under the OTB umbrella are all growing extremely well in China. “The one that is really performing above expectations is Maison Margiela,” said Rosso, who has recently acquired 100 percent of the Jil Sander brand.
Rosso is certainly not new to talent competitions.
Previously with Diesel and then with OTB, the fashion entrepreneur was the first to sponsor International Talent Support, the contest holding its 19th edition in 2021 that scouted a range of names including Demna Gvasalia.
In addition, Rosso is the only Italian jury member for the annual ANDAM French fashion prize, which has increased the amount of its grand prize to 300,000 euros for the this year’s edition. Rosso has been president of the jury and mentor for the talent contest twice. Over the years, ANDAM had among its winners Martin Margiela, Viktor & Rolf’s Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren, as well as Glenn Martens, who was named creative director of Diesel last year.
Rosso also took part in Camera Nazionale della Moda Italian’a Milano Moda Graduate initiative, giving visibility to the most promising talents at the Milanese fashion schools. In the past he supported the winners of the CFDA/Vogue Fund by financing the “Americans in Paris” project.
“Scouting and supporting young creatives has always been part of the DNA of OTB, where we have a talent acquisition team that every week is in touch with the most important fashion schools to organize meetings and mentorship programs,” said Rosso, citing for example Central Saint Martins in London, the Shenkar Institute in Tel Aviv, the Accademia Costume e Moda in Rome, as well as IED, Polimoda, Marangoni and Domus Academy in Milan.

Additionally, OTB develops continuous collaborations with prestigious universities, such as Politecnico in Milan, Ca’ Foscari in Venice and La Sapienza in Rome. “We also work with a range of local technical institutes, offering the classes with our managers, but also providing them with fabrics and materials to help the students’ developing their projects.”
Rosso is also personally involved in mentorship programs that over the years opened the doors of OTB to a range of talents, including Alexandre Mattiussi. “I give them my personal cell number and they can call me to ask me anything,” said Rosso. “Depending on the different talents, we create customized paths to discover all the different aspects of our companies and to give them the training that they need, according to their specific desires.”

Marni Renews Contract With Creative Director Francesco Risso

Marni Renews Contract With Creative Director Francesco Risso

MILAN — Marni is banking on Francesco Risso to further grow the brand, renewing the designer’s contract.
“Since joining, Francesco has taken on every bit of Marni’s DNA, whilst fully embracing his role as creative director,” said Renzo Rosso, president of Marni parent company OTB. “His unique leadership covers every aspect of his work, from style to interior design to marketing and the whole digital world, and he can count on an amazing global network of talents to help him express his vision. He has forged a new direction for the brand, rejuvenating it whilst also making Marni his own. I am delighted that we will continue to work together for many years to come.”
The company declined to reveal the length of the new contract, but it is understood it is a long-term agreement. OTB’s decision to reveal the extension firmly squelches recurring rumors about a possible exit of the designer.

Risso joined Marni in 2016, unveiling his first collection for the brand’s fall 2017 season, and succeeding the label’s founder Consuelo Castiglioni.
“Four years ago, I was humbled by the opportunity I was being given,” Risso said. “Today, I am even more grateful for this renewed stewardship. What we have achieved over the past years could not be possible without the trust of Renzo Rosso, the OTB group and the dedication of the teams around me. As the journey continues, I am excited to lead Marni toward the future, with even more creativity, honesty and commitment.”

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The designer studied at Florence’s Polimoda, New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology and Central Saint Martins in London. His work experience started at Anna Molinari, and after stints at Alessandro Dell’Acqua and Malo, in 2008 he joined Prada Group to work on the brand’s women’s show collections and on special brand endorsement projects.
“Remaining truthful to the spirit of the house, Risso has pushed the brand beyond its limits, fostering creativity at all levels and turning Marni into a playground for meaningful, artistic dialogues,” the company said. “Risso will continue to expand his vision for Marni, spearheading the brand image at global level and permeating all creative domains, from collections to communications.”
Rosso took full control of Marni in 2015. The brand was launched in 1994 as a fur collection, meant to diversify the production of Consuelo Castiglioni’s husband Gianni and his family’s company, Ciwifurs, a storied licensee for several designer brands. Retailers started asking for apparel to go with the furs and then accessories.
The Castiglionis first showed men’s wear together with women’s wear for spring 2002 and the category had its first solo runway show for fall 2006.
Risso has so far led Marni with an unwavering independent spirit and vision of fashion — and a touch of bravado. For spring 2021, the designer planned an ambitious video presentation: a livestream that would integrate narratives of more than 40 friends filmed in 12 cities around the world, from London and Shanghai to Dakar, Senegal, and Grand Island, Neb.
For Marni’s men’s fall 2020 show, Risso and choreographer Michele Rizzo were inspired by Prince Prospero, the protagonist of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death,” who locked himself in his safe castle to escape a horrible pestilence. In a dimly lit room where the audience stood on benches, the duo created a dance performance with young men and women slowly gyrating to tech music.

For resort 2021, Risso kicked off his Marni-Festo, “showcasing the essence of Marni,” he said at the time, instead of creating a new thematic world.
His designs are characterized by clashing prints, vibrant colors, deconstructed silhouettes, generous volumes and asymmetric cuts. He often injects naif or grungy vibes into the looks, which have a young and rebellious attitude. Risso is also drawn to Surrealism and the world of Alice in Wonderland — even taking his bow at the women’s fall 2020 show disguised as the White Rabbit.
Commenting on 2019 OTB financial results earlier this year, the group’s chief executive officer Ubaldo Minelli told WWD that Marni continued to evolve, reaching out to younger, international customers as 50 percent of them are now below age 35. In 2019, sales increased by more than 8 percent, with accessories accounting for 58 percent of the total. Last year, Marni opened eight stores, including a flagship in Tokyo’s Omotesando, and the first unit in Maximilianstraße, Munich. There are 76 directly operated Marni stores and 24 franchised units. The brand is available at more than 450 wholesale doors.
OTB has been looking to expand its portfolio of brands, which includes Diesel, Maison Margiela, Marni, Viktor & Rolf and a minority stake in Amiri, as well as production arms Staff International and Brave Kids. As reported earlier this month, sources say OTB is looking at acquiring Jil Sander, which is owned by Onward Holdings.
The group last fall renewed John Galliano’s employment pact for Maison Margiela. Galliano was appointed creative director of the brand in 2014.

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