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Home » Blazé Milano Marks 10th Anniversary With Rebranding, Collabs

Blazé Milano Marks 10th Anniversary With Rebranding, Collabs

by News Desk

MILAN – A new collection, a rebranding and a series of collaborations are to mark the anniversary celebrations of Blazé Milano, the label launched in 2013 by Corrada Rodriguez d’Acri, Delfina Pinardi and Maria Sole Torlonia.

Best known for its well-cut blazer jackets defined by the signature half-moon shaped Smiley pockets that have become a byword for nonchalance coolness, over the last decade the brand has expanded to encompass different product categories such as knitwear and denim; added made-to-order and bridal lines, and tiptoed into accessories tie-ups, all the while gaining popularity among international style icons and “It” girls with its discreet and chic aesthetic. Over the years, personalities donning Blazé Milano pieces have included Jessica Chastain, Julia Roberts, Kristen Stewart, Emma Stone, Chrissy Teigen, Charlotte Casiraghi, Alexa Chung and Caroline De Maigret, to name a few.

To mark the brand’s first decade in business and open the next chapter, the founders decided to smooth the linear font that has so far defined its labeling and add a new emblem to represent the company. Designed by the trio in collaboration with the Paris-based creative agency MaisonNue, a seahorse logo was picked as the embodiment of two great passions of the founders: horseback riding and sailing.

The new graphic will pop up in some elements of the new collection Blazé Milano will unveil during Milan Fashion Week on Wednesday, appearing on metallic buttons, embroideries and in the lining of the brand’s newest jackets.

A preview of the fall 2023 collection revealed that the lineup will reflect the celebratory mood of the founders, as it will bank on nocturnal glam with sparkling decorations and an overall ’80s feel.

A look from the Blazé Milano fall 2023 collection.

Courtesy of Blazé Milano

A firework pattern in dazzling rhinestones stood out on black velvet blazer jackets with matching baggy pants, while embroidered sequins resulted in a shimmering texture in another style to layer over a sparkling bra. To further amplify the party vibe, multicolored bouclé fabric with metallic threads was cut in a fancy bolero jacket with velvet trim, while cascades of fringes added movement to blazers and long skirts. Other highlights saw the trio’s sartorial skills shine in outerwear, including a double-breasted coat in fire red that oozed a sensual, feminine energy even in its oversized proportions.

“Our goal is still communicating a lifestyle of a certain type: elegant and refined, but at the same time tinged with spontaneity and authenticity. We have always loved to represent through our garments a cool, strong woman who knows what she wants,” said Torlonia.

“There has obviously been an evolution over the years because our life has changed and we want to feel more and more comfortable in the clothes we wear,” echoed Rodriguez d’Acri. “We have introduced new models and injected the Blazé aesthetic in other areas, but we remain faithful to our origins and values,” she added, underscoring that today’s bestsellers are still the first three styles the trio designed. These are the “Everyday” double-breasted blazer jacket; the “Weekend” oversize style, and the “Midnight Smoking” tuxedo jacket.

All three items were created in a small tailor’s shop in Milan, after Torlonia and Rodriguez d’Acri thought of launching a project together and involving Pinardi, who at the time was returning to Italy after working in New York.

Committed to make the blazer jacket the starting point of their venture, the founders opted for a word with a French sound to evoke that fierce and chic attitude they intended to channel and introduced the Smiley pocket as a distinctive detail.

“We took inspiration by a recurring element in 1920s fashion, that arched shape,” said Pinardi. “Those curved lines, that had a feminine and seductive touch, seemed like an interesting addition for our blazer jackets that winked to the world of men’s tailoring.

“Then the pocket became a signature thanks to the market’s feedback, which determined its success and made our pieces immediately recognizable. We had originally thought of other additional shapes for pockets but that feedback encouraged us to continue in this direction,” she added.

A look from the Blazé Milano fall 2023 collection.

Courtesy of Blazé Milano

The brand launched a decade ago with a trunk show staged at the house of Torlonia’s grandmother in Rome. In 2015, the self-financed project landed at the Who’s on Next talent contest promoted by Vogue Italia and Alta Roma, garnering the attention of a jury including Suzy Menkes, Franca Sozzani, Pierpaolo Piccioli, Riccardo Grassi and Beppe Angiolini.

“We believe the greatest challenge was to start from scratch. We had consolidated experience in styling [at Elle Italia] but we had never challenged ourselves as entrepreneurs up to that moment — even more considering we were betting on an item of clothing that maybe 10 years ago didn’t draw as much attention in fashion as today,” said Torlonia.

Established with a direct-to-consumer business model, supplemented by the made-to-measure project that is now available at its ateliers in both Milan and Rome, Blazé Milano launched its first wholesale sales campaign in 2014, collecting orders from international retailers including Net-a-porter, Matchesfashion, Alex Eagle and Beymen.

The brand was represented by the 247 showroom until 2020, when the pandemic encouraged the founders to tweak their approach and bring in-house that part of the business management, too, in a move that they described as the turning point in terms of propelling the company’s growth.

Last year, Blazé Milano’s revenues were up 70 percent to 8 million euros, 41 percent of which were generated outside Europe. Sales in the domestic market accounted for 33 percent of total revenues.

The brand’s managing director Filippo Fani Ciotti highlighted the company had a strong performance in China and is growing in the U.S., where the company had a sales campaign for its pre-collections that further propelled the overall business.

Going forward, the strategy is to continue to enhance its presence in the American market, as well as “enter more incisively into the Korean and Japanese ones, as we are convinced that our product can perform at its best there,” said Fani Ciotti.

A look from the Blazé Milano fall 2023 collection.

Courtesy of Blazé Milano

Listing another driver, the executive noticed that the product itself is performing better “thanks to an improved internal communication between commercial and style departments. Our stockkeeping units also grew, so other product categories beyond blazer jackets are reporting great results.”

The brand is carried at more than 100 retailers worldwide, including Saks Fifth Avenue, LuisaViaRoma, Mytheresa, Lane Crawford, SKP, Kadewe and Al Tayer, among others. The wholesale channel accounted for 80 percent of sales last year, while the label’s own e-commerce generated between 10 percent and 15 percent of total sales. The remaining revenues came from the physical ateliers of the brand.

In the longer term, Fani Ciotti eyes expanding the team and implementing a network of stand-alone stores in key markets. “Our approach is to always aim high. In 10 years we would like to be globally present with our stores, expand product categories and, who knows, also step into lifestyle territory,” he said. 

Product-wise, so far Blazé Milano’s loyal customers’ demand for total looks has resulted in the addition of a denim line; the Club Sportif casual range of T-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies and a baseball cap with a retro sporty feel; the Blazé Bride capsule, as well as a series of collaborations, ranging from one with Italian luxury eyewear brand L.G.R. to an eco capsule collection developed with Arizona Muse.

“Opening up to new categories was a natural evolution of our journey after a few years of single-product focus,” said Rodriguez d’Acri, who underscored the founders’ desire “to create an all-round Blazé aesthetic, in order to give further coherence to our style, but also to satisfy the needs of different personalities and offer new interpretations to the use of the blazer, which always remains our prime focus.”

This month, Blazé Milano dropped a first co-branded project with body and hair care specialist Koh-I-Noor, consisting of limited-edition beauty accessories decorated with the new seahorse logo.

Aimed at celebrating self-care and self-love, the collaboration resulted in a concise range that included a soft-bristle brush, a hair comb, a pocket mirror and a hair barrette. Rendered in a burgundy shade, these were all crafted from the historic beauty company’s signature cellulose acetate produced from renewable sources, including plants and cotton waste.

The collab between Blazé Milano and body and hair care specialist Koh-I-Noor.

Courtesy of Blazé Milano

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