Bachelor party in Ibiza: Baldessarini wants to celebrate with a younger target group
A party in Ibiza, new markets and more modern collections - Baldessarini's realignment is picking up steam since Florian Wortmann took over as managing director. The brand, founded in 1993, is approaching a younger target group with influencers and representation in social media but it also wants to retain its existing customer base.
Saying ‘yes’ to ready-to-wear
For this, the brand recently invited partners, press, influencers and select customers to Ibiza. At the end of May, Baldessarini presented its wedding capsule ‘White Collection’ on the party island, where the brand focused especially on bright colours like white and cognac for shirts and suits, as well as matching accessories like pocket squares and bow ties - saying ‘yes’ to the return of ready-to-wear. The pandemic forced men to dress in comfortable and loose pieces like sweatpants and sweatshirts, but this casualisation was only due to circumstances, Wortmann does not see it as a trend.
“We’re realising that ready-to-wear is coming back. We're responding to that with ‘Baldessarini White’; a cool, casual look for all kinds of celebrations,” said Wortmann, who himself sported the casual look at the Ibiza event with a peaked cap, aviator sunglasses, an unbuttoned shirt with blue and brown stripes, long, slightly rolled up trousers and brown, comfortable mules, as well as tattoos and jewellery. “From wedding to divorce, one finds something for every occasion with us. Returning to the formal look, we show that it can be cool, not just boring and unsophisticated.”
And that during times still marked by the pandemic, a depressed mood due to the war in Ukraine and global supply chain problems. However, the Baldessarini head is getting good customer feedback, as he told FashionUnited in Ibiza. “The relaunch is going great, we're not scaring away old customers and we're getting many new ones,” reports Wortmann. “We have a completely different visibility and radiance as a brand. Right now, I have to say, we're still living in a very good cosmos here.”
This cosmos allows the brand to pause the reality for an evening and hold an event focused on the wedding theme that looks like something out of the Millennial generation’s dream: a candy bar, a ping-pong table with red cups for playing the drinking game beer pong, a pool with inflatable hearts and wedding rings awaited the guests. On top of that, a tattoo artist gave guests a souvenir for eternity in a Las Vegas-style wedding chapel.
Even the location could not have been more suitable: the outdoor area of a hotel that embodies the vibe of the US in the ‘70s. This fits not only the theme of the event but also the style of the casual yet well dressed brand, which draws inspiration from the Hollywood style of the period. Baldessarini thus aims to become “one of the firm pillars” in the premium segment again.
”We don't want to be comparable at all for the customer because of this unique lifestyle. If you go through a premium department store with Boss, Joop and then on to Zegna, Windsor, Sandro and all the contemporaries, we are a good link that bridges the gap between ‘You know what you're getting’, but you're also always ‘fashionably on point’ without looking dressed up,” Wortmann said, describing the direction.
To ensure that the lifestyle also resonates with a younger target group, the brand offered its guests in Ibiza numerous photo spots - like an Instagram museum. Influencers could pose in front of a white stretch limousine and in a heart-shaped pool, and bring out their brightest smiles in front of a typical photo wall. But also moments like the cutting of the wedding cake, accompanied by guests with sparklers, offered Baldessarini-clad content creators a special photo opportunity.
The brand used the location and influential guests for its social media presence and posted several Instagram stories during the event. Among others, influencers like DJ Justin Prince (200,000 followers on Instagram), model Luca Heubl (412,000 followers on Instagram) and Tobias Reuter (779,000 followers on Instagram) were seen playing a game of beer pong, which the brand titled “Team Don Promillos” - scenes that could also come straight from a bachelor party and strengthen the young image of the brand.
Baldessarini does not want to have its cake and eat it too
This image seems to be well received not only in the domestic market, where Baldessarini is focusing on expanding its bricks-and-mortar retail, but also in neighbouring countries. Poland is currently the strongest export market for the brand, but growth rates are high in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands too, as well as in Switzerland and Great Britain, according to the Baldessarini MD. In addition, the brand is now also active in Italy, where it presented itself for the first time since 2016 at the international menswear fair Pitti Uomo in Florence. But Baldessarini also still supplies the much-discussed Russian market, as partner stores “are run locally by Ukrainians,” explained Wortmann. In Spain, on the other hand, the brand is not currently represented, despite the party taking place in Ibiza, as this is a very complex market due to the many department stores. “You either go in with a shop-in-shop or leave it for now,” he stated. “It is also important not to have one’s cake and eat it too, but to first take care of one’s pre-markets, set them up properly and not fall for internationalisation.” However, the brand still wants to visit all weddings - step by step though.
79-euro shirts are not “brand appropriate”
Despite the party atmosphere at Baldessarini, the brand cannot avoid price increases in face of strained supply chains and rising energy prices, and had to raise them by 10 to 15 percent. However, initial price points would no longer be particularly relevant to the brand. “I don't need jeans for 99 euros or a shirt for 79 euros at Baldessarini. That is not brand-appropriate. We want to get out of that valley,” he said. “We are upper-premium, but still affordable luxury design, which refers to luxury when it comes to design, not price. With us, a shirt costs 119, 129, 139 euros, while elsewhere one would pay 350 or 400 euros.”
Wortmann sees greater problems with the issue of core price levels in the mass market, where the price increase is more noticeable to customers. But he is confident that anyone who previously bought a pair of Baldessarini jeans for 129 euros would also buy them for 139 euros.
Baldessarini was founded in 1993 as part of the Hugo Boss AG and named after fashion designer and manager Werner Baldessarini, who also held management positions for the German fashion group. In 1998, late fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld photographed the catalogue for the spring/summer season, and since 2002, fragrances have also been part of the range. In 2006, Baldessarini was acquired by German fashion group Ahlers AG, which also owns brands such as Pierre Cardin and Pioneer.
Florian Wortmann now wants to lead the brand to its former glory and exploit its actual potential. “I chose the Baldessarini brand at the time because it was clear to me that the brand is capable of much more than it is currently performing,” said the Baldessarini head of his decision to return to the Ahlers Group and lead the brand. He thinks that “there is still enough room out there for authentic brands that tell a story you can identify with. With the relaunch, we've been very successful and above expectations. We were only able to do that because we aligned the brand in a very clear and polarising way.”
But Baldessarini has also set itself tight revenue targets and wants to become a brand “that goes towards 100 million euros. In the first step, we want to crack 50 million and then we'll take it from there.”
FashionUnited was invited by Baldessarini to the Ibiza event.
This article was originally published on FashionUnited.de. Edited and translated by Simone Preuss.