Robb Report, Saks team to celebrate Italian way of life

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Cover of Robb Report March 2016 issue

Lifestyle publication Robb Report is bringing la dolce vita to its readers by dedicating its entire March issue to Italy.

From automobiles and fashion to travel and food, the issue explores the people responsible for the country’s cultural significance. To kick off the issue, Robb Report and Saks hosted a shopping event at the retailer’s Fifth Avenue flagship, bringing together elements of the good life on the men’s floor.

“We started talking about something like this about two to three years ago with David Arnold, who is the publisher of Robb Report,” said Shawn Howell, vice president divisional merchandising manager of Men’s Luxury Collections at Saks Fifth Avenue. “We were all in Milan, and we were all sitting around after a long day just thinking about things that we could do with them, and they wanted to celebrate Italy and everything that goes on in Italy, all the artisans and all the great products that come out of Italy. Most of our sixth floor is Italian, so it kind of made sense.

“So that was one of the reasons we wanted to do a marriage and bring the best of Italy from their perspective, and give ours as well.”

Tour of Italy
Robb Report’s issue included a number of Italian advertisers, including Ermenegildo Zegna, Bulgari, Boglioli, Kiton, Isaia, Armani Hotel Dubai and Dolce & Gabbana, which fittingly ran its spring “Italia is Love” campaign. Ralph Lauren opened the book, followed by Hermès, and a number of Swiss watchmakers, including Richard Mille, Audemars Piguet and Ulysse Nardin also appeared in the front of the book.

“I was surprised [about the advertising], because I expected that it would be mostly Italy, but it’s really quite a mix,” said Brett Anderson, editor-in-chief of Robb Report. “But obviously, we were hoping that the Italian companies would support the idea because we could do an Italy issue every year and have it be entirely different. We’ve never done an entire issue and it’s literally cover to cover, everything in the issue is Italian.

“The Italians were great supporters in terms of advertising, but we also had a lot of other luxury brands that thought this was a great idea because people love Italy and everything about Italy,” he said. “It’s such as wonderful country with many great stories to tell and so many different regions with different identities as well.

“A lot of those companies have ties to Italy, whether they’re using Italian fabrics or craftsmen and so forth. The Italian mindset, the Italian way of looking at life has permeated much of the luxury market and on many different levels.”

The issue is a first for Robb Report, which has never dedicated an issue cover-to-cover to a single country. Features include a look at the makers of some of the past century’s most iconic cars and a look at idyllic Italian villas.

March is the spring fashion issue, with a 16-page spread shot in Florence at Palazzo Pitti’s Galleria Palatina, marking the first time the 500-year-old venue has allowed a fashion shoot within its walls. The magazine tapped an Italian crew for “Artful Elegance,” including photographer Adriano Russo and stylist Peter Cardona.

Robb Report’s celebration continues online, where a magazine article exploring the Neapolitan tailors behind the family-owned brands Kiton, Isaia, Cesare Attolini, and Rubinacci in a short film.

Online, consumers can also get a step closer to taking home a piece of Italy with a curated list of stores selling fashion, wine, cars and other goods from the country.

At the event, consumers could shop menswear labels as well as check out a number of installations scattered throughout the floor, allowing them to in effect tour Italy. Ferragamo hosted a chocolate tasting, with treats based on its fragrances, while other stations served Italian staples such as prosciutto or risotto.

Attendees could also get their picture taken atop a Ducati, or view a pair of Lamborghinis parked outside the store.

In honor of Italy, the shopping party at Saks donated 10 percent of proceeds to the Save Venice fund.

The event served as a preface to Saks’ made to measure weekend in New York from March 10-12, during which customers can create a customized wardrobe by working with brands such as Canali, Brioni, Zegna and Isaia.

Saks has created its own celebration of Italy through editorial.

The retailer provided fashionable inspiration for Father’s Day gifting last year with a dedicated issue of its magazine featuring street style stars.

This edition of the retailer’s magazine centered on Italian menswear and included a photo spread created in partnership with the Italian Trade Commission based on Pitti Uomo, the menswear trade fair in Florence. Showing off the sartorially talented may have prompted readers to upgrade their own or their father’s style (see story).

“Whenever I talk to our readers, they all go to Italy at least once or twice a year, and it seems like Americans particularly have this love affair with Italy, and it’s kind of magical,” Mr. Anderson said. “I went to Italy all of the time when I was younger, and so in my mind, it’s always one of those places where I just kind of light up, because I love everything about it. I love the weather, I love the wine, the food, the architecture, the countryside.

“I think people have just a special relationship,” he said. “It’s sort of like the old joke about every American is a little bit Irish, I think there’s a truth there too where at heart every American is a little bit Italian. We all want to have a piece of that way of looking at the world, that way of living, of passionate but also the ability to slow down and stop and enjoy and appreciate what’s around you and what life and nature and culture have to offer.”

Courtesy Luxury Daily

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