Q&A: Valentino’s Dubai Mall store will be ‘special’, says Stefano Sassi

The Valentino CEO tells of the fashion house's excitement in opening in Dubai Mall and how the brand values its Middle Eastern clients.

Stefano Sassi, CEO of Valentino. Jacopo Raule / Getty Images
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Stefano Sassi, CEO of Valentino, tells us how the fashion house values its Middle Eastern clients.

How’s business and what are the challenges to growth?

"We had a positive 2016, bringing in revenue of more than US$1bn [Dh3.67 billion]. That was a good performance in a tough market. We’ll keep growing and stepping things up in 2017. Increasingly in the market, there’s an intense demand for creativity and newness. The digital revolution is bringing news of trends to consumers quicker than ever before and the mindset of the consumer is therefore accelerating.”

What can you reveal about Valentino’s new flagship store in Dubai Mall?

“It’s a major destination for consumers and we’re making every effort to create something special and important. We’re very excited about the opportunity and in a few months time we’ll be there.”

How important are Middle Eastern clients?

“They’ve always been very important in terms of ready-to-wear, accessories and couture. Middle Eastern clients are very loyal to the brand and not just in Dubai or Abu Dhabi but also when they travel. A lot of our sales in Paris and London are made by customers from the region when they’re in town.”

Is Valentino experiencing a renaissance under Pierpaolo Piccioli?

“I believe it’s an evolution. He’s providing continuity but at the same time bringing his strong personality and point of view to Valentino.”

Where do you stand on the see-now-buy-now model?

“We have a very clear position. To make something sophisticated, high quality and with real style content, we believe you need time. You have to source the right fabrics, elaborate them and put things together very carefully. If you want real fashion, you need a supply chain with clear processes. That’s why the see-now-buy-now model is not the approach that fits well with the kind of fashion we do.”