We met Massimo Alba, who is showing in Milano for SS 2012, when he first presented in Paris.This was the occasion to best (re)discover his world.
The Italian designer presents for the first time in Paris
With former experiences as the creative director of Malo, Piombo and Ballantyne, Massimo Alba, 47, has a long career in Italian clothing. For his own line « Massimo Alba » he opened his first store in Milan's Brera district, near the Art Academy. Now he presented his men’s and woman’s collection for the second time during the Paris Fashion Week.
Why did you show your collection in Paris?
Massimo Alba : I finally decided to present my clothes here for the next three years, season by season, in order to give the clients the opportunity to see my work not only in Milan but as well in Paris. Before Paris, we presented the woman’s and the men’s collection together during White Trade Show of Milan where I had a beautiful space of 350 m2. Showing in Paris after Milan is not really an advantage because it’s too late in time. But nevertheless we came here in order to stay in the market and we got some orders.
Why do you think that the Paris fashion week is too late?
M. A.: Paris is the last important fashion week of the year. When the customers come here they did spend already most of their budget. It’s like fishing in a sea with tons of fishes which are full already!
How the fashion industry has changed since you started in the 80ies?
M.A.: In the 80ies New York didn’t exist as important market place for fashion. Milan was important, but Paris was Number One for ready-to-wear, couture and for a certain taste which is always coming out of this city. Paris gave the taste and the attitude. Now New York has become really important for us. For example we presented our collection in New York at the Showroom of Christophe Desmaison called CD Network and 90% of my business is already done there. The main difference to the 80ies is the internet. Today you can scout a brand from your studio, you can follow your interests and your taste in having a look on the website. Buyers can make do a lot of research without traveling, because all the collections are online…
…but isn’t it still important for the buyers to touch the fabrics, especially when they are so special as yours?
M.A.: Yes, but through the internet you can understand the feeling of a collection. Then of course you have to meet the relevant people in New York, in Milan and finally in Paris.
How did the crises affect your brand Massimo Alba?
M.A.: We started our first collection during the crisis when I presented it in New York three years ago. It was a difficult situation, but then I opened my showroom in Milan and my first store in Milan’s Via Brera last year. It did really well. Maybe it was the right moment to plant the seeds. Still, we need to think differently, we have to change the model of the business.
What is the key of your success?
M.A.: I’m taking care of the price of everything and it’s tremendously important for me to define your own personality. That’s why our cashmere is chemical-free with natural exclusive colors and it’s attitude is different from the others. We work with special materials, like very light and soft wool.
The competition has become harder?
M.A.: Nowadays the competition is not only with the big ready-to-wear brands but with everyone. The main problem for us are the outlets, huge discount markets which are selling high quality ready-to-wear for half of the price. The market is in a strange situation: like if one would drive a car in an anarchic mood. You must be really aware of that.