CONVERSATION WITH GIOVANNA FURLANETTO, PRESIDENT OF FURLA
Giovanna Furlanetto gives us her insights on one of the most widespread Italian luxury brand and her involvement with contemporary art.
Which principles have influenced you during your 40 years career?
Giovanna Furlanetto: I have always been influenced by my father’s principles: utmost dedication, commitment and great passion for my work. He motivated and encouraged me to always go on and to fly high, offering me the opportunity to work in our field since I was very young. He used to say all the time: “You are like a vessel, and you have to fill it with contents”. If you add to this philosophy the constant drive for research, innovation and experimentation – intrinsic values of our company’s DNA – you will understand how you can always surprise and amaze people.
Furla turnover has been constantly growing for years. What is the secret of your success?
Giovanna Furlanetto: Furla’s success lies in its solid identity as a Premium Lifestyle Brand, which means to ensure its customers a luxurious shopping experience at a value for money. The sophisticated and, at the same time, all-purpose design, which characterizes all collections of handbags and accessories, emphasizes the concept of functionality and versatility required by modern life, firmly bound to an everlasting sense of beauty and elegance. Furla is timeless and contemporary at the same time, and much more than this. Our creative vision – which is always addressed to the incomparable tradition of “made in Italy” and to the time-honoured culture of the product – represents the driving force behind the unremitting and unconditional attention towards the whole product and the smallest detail of it.
During 85 years of activity, we have created a very transverse brand: “Essential, popular and edgy” at the same time. It expresses the right mix of creativity, wonder, fun and quality that makes Italy famous across the world.
95% of employees at Furla are women. What are the advantages of this strong presence in terms of management and creativity?
Giovanna Furlanetto: I think that this high percentage of women working at Furla is a natural choice, if we think of their sensitivity and understanding of a range of products dedicated to them and their everyday lives and needs.
Furla’s communication is closely related to contemporary art. In which way can art give an added value to the perception of a brand?
Giovanna Furlanetto: I believe that all initiatives, which connect Furla to the art world, represent a new way to discover and support the next generation of contemporary artists. Moreover these initiatives are a significant way to bring new exchanges and synergies, perceived by the company as a precious opportunity to broaden its horizons and feed its creativity.
The Candy Bag is your best-seller, also thanks to the innovative travelling tour called #candycool. How was developed this project and what kind of follow-up do you envisage for the future?
Giovanna Furlanetto: The #candycool project – firstly staged in Tokyo, and then in Seoul and Shanghai – fully embodies our desire to experiment new solutions and means of expression thanks to the participation of artistic talents and trend setters from all over the world. These special collaborators have been invited to interpret and customize the Candy Bag following our “glocal” perspective, which means that each local culture exalts the international appeal and flavour of our iconic bag. At the end Furla designers will develop a unique Candy Bag Limited Edition inspired by all the models interpreted and personalized by the different teams spread around the world. As a synthesis of this collective and multicultural collaboration, Furla will show its Candy Bag Limited Edition at the next Milanese fashion week in February 2014.
The Furla Art Award is the most important award in Italy for Italian emerging artist today. What are the objectives for the future editions?
Giovanna Furlanetto: Since I felt, more than 10 years ago, the desire to do something for contemporary art in Italy – where our success has its roots – Furla has been strongly committed to encouraging and promoting young artists, helping them to achieve visibility and creating a new interest in contemporary art. Since the first edition in 2000, this highly recognized award has been involving a wide network of art critics, curators, museum directors and prestigious art centres.
Our main goal for the future is to give continuity to this project and to increase the international visibility of our artists, catching the attention of foreign critics towards Italy and also giving the participants the opportunity to study and convey their vision abroad.
You have a tight link with Marina Abramovic, the icon-artist. Marina was the patron artist of 2009 edition of the Furla Award and Furla Foundation sponsored the film « Marina Abramovic Method » by Giada Colagrande presented at the Venice Film Festival last year. Do you envisage a further cooperation with Marina for her new project, the Marina Abramovic Institute?
Giovanna Furlanetto: Marina is a visionary and eclectic artist and her latest project demonstrates how keen she is to involve the public in performance art. She is able to create an exceptional fusion of art and people. In fact Furla has already been involved in the Marina Abramovic Institute as a supporting member.
How do you see the future of the company and the Furla Foundation, which seem to me tightly connected both for commercial and cultural reasons?
Giovanna Furlanetto: Furla is not only a brand of leather accessories but also a world of ethical and aesthetic values, which inspires and encounters the fashion world thanks to its creations together with a wide range of initiatives, which reconfirm our dedication to the time-honoured Italian heritage and beauty. That stated, the company and the foundation have independent and autonomous identities but they are strongly connected in values, creative perspectives and talent scouting. These connections, well rooted in all of our commercial plans, will continue to link the brand with all the artistic initiatives of the Furla Foundation.