March 20, 2012
Luxury. Shops and a flagship store in NY Oteri’s shoes and bags land in United States
Article by Monica Camozzi
Mr. Alessandro Oteri, creator of the eponymous luxury shoe and bag line, has disproved all at once many clichés: that in Italy there are no business angels; that banks never do their job; that one, overwhelmed by difficulties, simply gives up. The 40-year-old Chiavari-born fashion designer, who created a shoe line floating between Ferragamo’s rigorous beauty and Louboutin’s fancy, has conquered Mr. Gherardo Fenzi, Giorgio Armani’s former distribution general manager; the Tecnocasa boss, who decided to join the brand through the Uno Mas company; and last, Cariparma, a bank that did its job providing an effective support to the young start-up “because they valued – as Mr. Oteri says – the brand potential, not just the mere numbers.”
Thus, in a short time, the new flagship store in via Borgospesso in Milan was opened, home also to the headquarters of the Alessandro Oteri company and Blue Heart, the company owning the brand shared as follows: 39% by Gherardo Fenzi, 32% by the fashion designer, 20% by Uno Mas, plus an 8% share by different partners, engaged in the business development. Surprising was the entry of a Tecnocasa group’s company: apparently, the owner of the group saw Mr. Oteri’s shoes by chance and decided to embark on this adventure, driven by true passion. “We are starting a global distribution – explains Mr. Oteri, who joined the luxury shoe world after studying for years the Ferragamo style, his true icon, beside Chanel and the inevitable Manolo Blahnik – An important American group came to seek us out, the market is recovering and we will be present on the first season with 45 doors, to get to 150 in the next three years; the expected turnover amounts to 4 million dollars during this same period of time.” In New York, the group is planning the opening of a flagship store on Madison Avenue.
Beside precise orders – the Nadége bag (seen in the picture below) was requested by Vogue America – from United States come real takeover proposals, kindly turned down “because I love my band, my company – Mr. Oteri adds –, I wanted the Blue Heart offices to be in Italy, since I want to pay taxes here and I am proud of being Italian.” True to his style, focused on a design evoking the Fifties, which introduces on a definite identity basis the contemporary glamour. The designer creates ankle boots, décolletés and sandals with triad of vivid colors, formal and esthetic experimentations (as the high-boot in cortex-like print) without overlooking that hint of classicism, rooted in the round-toe vintage models, in the coquettish toes, in the elongated shapes placed on a simple stiletto. A subtle style globally appreciated: from Russia to Hong Kong, from Spain to Dubai, where the group is planning to open a store. The shoes, interspersed by micro lunar sequins and small polychrome jets, have been worn by members of European Royal families, back when the designer used to sell just a few pieces in his atelier in via Cerva. Then, came offers by funds such as Camelot, but they all ended in nothing; Miss Emanuela Barilla had joined the group, by buying the company but not the brand. “I kept my brand and I know I did the right thing. I chose to go on by myself,” says Mr. Oteri. Then, when his adventure seemed to be over, new partners came along.