Nov 13, 2017
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Richemont acquires Italian leather brand Serapian

Nov 13, 2017

Richemont has added historic Italian leather goods house Serapian to its fold. The Swiss luxury group took a 100% stake in the Italian supplier back in August, as confirmed to FashionNetwork by Serapian, following reports of the deal by MF Fashion and TextilWirtschaft. The purchase amount has not been disclosed, and a managing director will soon be appointed. 

Richemont adds to its arsenal the Italian leather specialist Serapian - serapian.com

The founding Serapian family is no longer a stakeholder, but will continue to fill key roles in the company. Giovanni Nodari, in charge of all business operations, is Ardavast Serapian's nephew, the son of founder Stefano. 

Richemont has known Serapian for a long time, going back to 1970s and 80s, when the Milanese firm was a leather supplier to Cartier and Dunhill, two brands owned by the Swiss giant, alongside Jaeger-LeCoultre, Piaget, Lancel, Chloé and Azzedine Alaia.

"The group has been able to assess their production quality; an extremely rare and exceptional expertise in the working of leather. The acquisition strategy will consist of developing the firm, using it across the group's own portfolio, and of course, supplying to outside luxury brands," communications director Maxime Bohé told FashionNetwork.com.

The Serapian name is known most for its expertise in exotic skins, and that will continue to play an important role. The other axis of development: bespoke items, one of the house's classic functions, which was especially a key segment between the 1960s and the 1980s. 

All collections are made in Italy in a Milanese atelier on via Jommelli -- which consists of a laboratory, as well as a store and headquarters -- and in a factory in Varese, on the outskirts of Milan. 

Arriving in Italy in the 1920s to escape the massacres in Turkey, Armenian Stefano Serapian started his leather goods business in 1928 with bags featuring hanging pieces of leather. Success came soon and the business grew into a team of artisans. With his wife Gina Flori, Serapian opened his first store-atelier in 1945 on via Jommelli in Milan, giving rise to the house that now carries his name. In 1973, his son, Ardavast, took the reigns of the business and distributed the brand globally. 

"Serapian serves leather connaisseurs. We wish to keep this exclusive high-end positioning and maintain our quality with this idea of being authentic and rare," added Bohé.

Serapian operates four namesake stores (Rome, Venice and two in Milan) as well as a franchise in Los Angeles. The brand is distributed across the globe in some 100 exclusive retailers. The firm's major market is Japan, followed by Russia and Italy. 

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