The latest instalment in our On Work / On Play series with luxury CEOs. This month: Fabio d’Angelantonio, CEO of Loro Piana
Q. What was your first job?
A. My first professional experience was in a publishing house, an international children’s book company. I learned a lot in this company but what I liked the most was the approach, the attention to detail. We created books for children, for a new generation, which accompanied them while they were growing up: [having] the right content and the right images were paramount. I felt a big sense of responsibility. This approach is something that stayed with me constantly, throughout all my professional experience: the important role of beauty in everything we do.
Q. What was your best memory from any job you’ve had so far?
A. It is linked to repositioning and relaunching Ray Ban, which is now one of the most recognised and appreciated brands in the world.
Q. What is the one thing you can’t spend a day without?
A. The Loro Piana Open Walk Shoes. They are beautiful, comfortable, and they match perfectly with every outfit. Once you try them on, it is difficult to go back to any other shoes. They’re addictive.
Q. How important is digital presence for Loro Piana?
A. The digital experience is very important for us. Digital activities play a central role in what we do – not necessarily just for younger audiences [but also for our older, established customers as well]. [Our customers are] digital smart. I think people today have the expectation that a brand should be able to provide the right experience for them in the digital world.
They expect [a brand’s] website to tell and express content in a rich way. They want information about products, they want e-commerce to be flexible. [It’s like having a] consultant on one side and a concierge on the other. They’re also interested in [having] a continuous dialogue with the brands through social platforms like WeChat or Instagram, and get more information on what’s going on, what’s new and what’s happening.
Q. What changes have you brought to Loro Piana since joining at the end of 2016?
A. I arrived at the perfect moment in this beautiful brand, in the sense that a few years ago, the family decided to sell the majority to the LVMH group. We went through a transition period – the transformation of the company from a family to a managerial structure.
I think my intention is to [not change anything]. What I try to add to or bring out is Loro Piana’s philosophy and vision, coupled with a strong ambition for this brand, this business, to flourish. Those are the things that I’m trying to bring to the table. I’m not sure I would call them ‘changes’.
Q. How is the world of luxury changing? Are there any trends we should know about?
A. There are three or four trends you can observe. One is authenticity and integrity. Customers that approach luxury brands want to understand as much as possible what is behind the product. And when involving uber luxury, you have customers who have no limits in terms of spending, but to be ready to spend certain [amounts of] money, they really want to understand the relationship between the price and the qualities of the product. They want to understand why that product has that price.
Also, the idea of elegance is moving from formal to informal. If you think about all the emerging elite, they’re younger and they’re much less into the idea of formal elegance. [Finally], the expectation of the luxury customer is [getting] higher every day. [Expectations for service are higher. For me, it’s not just] about the personalisation of a product, but also the personalisation of service.
2016–present: CEO, Loro Piana
2009–2015: president, Sunglass Hut
2005–2015: chief marketing officer, Luxottica