Christian Dior takes over Italian leather treatment specialist Art Lab
The race to acquire manufacturing know-how in Italy continues, and it is now Christian Dior’s turn to make a move. LVMH's leading label has set its sights on a renowned factory located in Santa Croce sull’Arno, in Tuscany’s tannery district, between Pisa and Florence. Milanese business newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore reported that Christian Dior has taken over Art Lab, a Tuscan company specialised in digital printing and hand-made treatments on leather, without specifying the size of the stake or the value of the operation. FashionNetwork.com has contacted both companies, and they declined to comment, while not issuing a denial.
The company now known as Art Lab was first set up at the end of the 1990s. Marcello Tatoni had the idea, ground-breaking at the time, of digitally printing directly on leather, while also experimenting with a variety of technologies to treat the material. In 2013, the company was transformed into a genuine art laboratory under the new name Art Lab. It is now run by Marcello Tatoni’s two children, Ilaria Sassetti and Dario Tatoni, and engineer Andrea Balleri.
Art Lab is currently working for some of the world's top fashion labels. It employs nearly 70 people, and generates a revenue of approximately €5 million. Art Lab’s unique asset is that it offers its clients a complete finishing cycle, thanks to its cutting-edge equipment.
This operation enables Christian Dior to boost its manufacturing capabilities, notably in Italy, where the label produces high-added-value luxury goods. The Parisian label, whose sales have never stopped growing in recent years, is also planning to build a new factory for men’s footwear in Fossò, near Venice, right opposite the facility that produces Dior’s women’s shoes. Also in Italy, Christian Dior operates two leather goods factories in Naples, another in Florence, and a handbag factory in Lugagnano Val D’Arda, between Parma and Piacenza. Plus another handbag factory that was opened in February in Casarano, in the Salento region of Puglia, in partnership with local producer Antonio Filograna-Sergio.
The LVMH group’s Métiers d’Art division has also recently invested in the leather sector in Italy, buying Ally Projects, an exotic leather tannery located in Santa Croce sull’Arno, like Art Lab, and acquiring a stake in high-end leather ready-to-wear producer Roban's, also based in Tuscany.
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