What is the difference beween fashion and merchandise?
On the one hand there are brands that people love to wear while doing a certain sport. Like, the shirt, made popular by a famous French tennis player called Henri Lacoste. His nickname "the crocodile", symbolizing the brand´s stitched on token, started maybe the first logo hysteria in modern fashion history: The label became extremely successful, opening doors for similar concepts.
And then there always were the fans. People who wanted to wear what their Football/Tennis/Racing/Car-Drivng/You-Name-It-Heroes would wear when competing, so an industry developed from there as well.
In my mind, Ferrari always belonged very obviously to the second group. Wearing their hats or their T-shirts felt like wearing a Coldplay -Tour-T-shirt - and had nothing to do with fashion. You probably bought your last cap on your way South at an "autstrada-del-sole"-highway gas station to honor the company as a typical Italian myth.
Now there is a whole fashion collection.
Designed by Rocco Iannone—who worked for Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, and latterly Pal Zileri—this first Ferrari fashion collection comprised 52 looks, of which 80% were unisex. It was shown in Ferrari’s home town of Maranello, Italy, on the assembly line where its automotive artisans are usually employed to hook up mighty V12 engines to hand-sculpted 812 GTS.
Why venture out of its lane to deliver this fashion diversion?
The answer seemed to lie in a comment by Iannone, who spoke pre-show of wishing “to enlarge our fan base, including young generations and women especially—although women have always been part of our fan base but it has never been well told.”
Furthermore, as this collection was launched, Ferrari simultaneously debuted a serene, terra-cotta-clad retail concept overseen by Simon Mitchell of London’s Sybarite, and reopened Cavallino, the Maranello restaurant that was originally Ferrari’s staff canteen, under the directorship of Modena-based superchef Massimo Bottura and the Paris-based architect India Mahdavi. As Ferrari’s chief brand diversification officer Nicola Boari said, the aim is “to build a bridge to a wider audience.”
Also on its home turf, Ferrari is embracing change: It will launch an SUV this year, before debuting its first all-electric vehicle in 2025.
What more do women want?
Actually, Iannone’s decision to size his collection from XXXS to XXXL was my favorite indication that Ferrari is attempting to alter the aerodynamics of its perception in order to broaden its appeal and adapt to changing 21st-century tastes.
For a brand that once helped to invent the species of "grid girls" and "pit babes" that is really something new.