Arezzo & Co. Acquires Controlling Interest in Paris Texas Footwear – Footwear News

Arezzo & Co. are stepping up their game.

The 50-year-old Brazilian conglomerate behind brands including Arezzo, Schutz and Alexandre Birman has acquired a majority stake in hip Italian shoe label Paris Texas, WWD and FN have learned.

Arezzo & Co. has invested 25 million euros to take over 65 percent of the brand that Annamaria Brivio launched in 2015 and generated around 15 million euros in sales last year.

paris texas boots spring 2023

Paris Texas Spring 2023.

The deal marks the group’s first international acquisition and will be officially announced at a joint event during Paris Fashion Week on Friday morning.

Arezzo & Co CEO Alexandre Birman, who zoomed in from Tuscany before departing for Paris, stressed that the operation is just the first step in a new, ambitious direction for the company.

“This moment is very important and goes beyond an acquisition. It’s the beginning of a new era for Arezzo & Co. and a transformation that we’ve been studying and planning for years,” he said. “The actual business with luxury shoes is done in Italy. It’s the reality and it always will be… For our company to become truly international in the luxury women’s footwear landscape, it’s crucial to have an Italian relevance,” said Birman, who founded his eponymous brand in 2008 after having already had established protection label with only 18 in 1995.

A knack for shoemaking has run in his family since his father Anderson, chairman of Arezzo & Co., and uncle Jefferson founded the Arezzo brand in 1972. Five decades later, the company has grown into a multi-brand group that also includes Anacapri, Fiever, Alme, My Shoes, Baw Clothing, Carol Bassi and lifestyle arm AR&Co, which includes brands like Reserva. In 2019, Arezzo & Co. announced an agreement to be the exclusive distributor of the Vans brand of footwear, apparel and accessories in Brazil.

Paris Texas Spring 2023.

Paris Texas Spring 2023.

The company, which has been listed on the São Paulo Stock Exchange since 2011, reported a 57.4 percent increase in revenue to 3.6 billion Brazilian reals, or around $700 million, in the first nine months of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021.

Birman underscored the group’s unique positioning, citing Arezzo & Co.’s market share in Brazil, which he says is around 38% for the women’s shoe market for shoes over $100. He also highlighted how the new Italian focus will build on the company’s international expansion, which began a decade ago and which has so far resulted in a strong presence, particularly in the US, a market that is 10 percent and around 100 million Total market US dollar accounts for business.

Finding the right partner in Italy was the first step in Birman’s expansion plan. “My way of evaluating the brand started in September 2022. I’ve spoken to eight companies and while I appreciate and admire the other seven, it wasn’t the right time [for them],” he said.

Conversely, the association with Massimo Baltimora, the co-founder and CEO of Brivio and Paris Texas, came naturally. After first meeting at the Four Seasons Hotel in Milan during fashion week in September, Birman visited the brand’s showrooms in both the Italian city and Paris. Ten days later, Brivio and Baltimora traveled to Brazil and got an up-close look at Arezzo & Co.’s product development center and some of its factories in the south of the country. A meeting in New York a few months later sealed the deal.

“I really believe in Paris Texas a lot. The brand is pluralistic, it has a very strong positioning,” said Birman, noting the duality between the super-feminine and the evening side – and the more everyday approach in their offering. “The way they started was very unusual because they owned a shop and the showroom. Annamaria is a talent, she has very good taste,” Birman said.

Paris Texas Spring 2023.

Paris Texas Spring 2023.

Specifically, Brivio started her career as a fashion buyer for a multi-brand store in Milan, before merging with business partner Baltimora to create the Baltimora Studio showroom. In 2012 they opened luxury fashion boutique Norrgatan in Monza, just outside Milan. They founded Paris Texas and focused on their knowledge of running these two companies and after finding a niche in the market for fashion driven, high quality designs at competitive prices.

Her extremely photogenic styles include wild stilettos and crystal embellishments sitting alongside chunky cowboy boots. Knee-high and wide boots in metallic, crocodile and python leather or in bright colors are still the brand’s hallmark, although the offer has expanded to a wide range of designs such as mules, platforms, wedges and strappy sandals.

After building a strong base in Italy, the brand’s visibility exploded internationally on social media and among influencers and celebrities. Over the years, Paris Texas shoes have been spotted on the feet of Emily Ratajkowski, Selena Gomez, Dua Lipa, Alicia Keys, Ashley Graham, Nicola Peltz Beckham, Chiara Ferragni, Gigi Hadid and the entire Kardashian-Jenner clan, to name but a few to call . In 2019, Brivio also received the Emerging Talent Award at the annual FN Achievement Awards.

“When we were looking for a partner, we knew we had to have a ‘value match’ – someone who had a similar attitude towards work and life,” said Brivio. “Alex is that person. A self-starter, he has grown his company into a globally recognized giant and has an incredible amount of knowledge when it comes to running a business, from conception through production to execution.”

“We don’t see Arezzo as an investor with speculative goals, but as a strategic partner who shares our vision and entrepreneurial spirit,” added Baltimora. “We want the brand to continue growing and enduring, and we feel we are at the moment where the right partnership can help us accelerate our vision for Paris Texas. This is not just an opportunity for a financial investment in the company – we are working with the Arezzo team and using their global expertise and knowledge to take Paris Texas to the next level and make it a truly global top brand make. ”

Both Brivio and Baltimora will retain their roles at the company and will sit on a newly created board along with two executives from Arezzo & Co. and Birman, who will be executive chairman of the board.

The strategy Birman has outlined for the brand focuses on a major sales push rather than product tweaks, as the CEO said he was determined “not to change anything in terms of styling, branding and positioning. It’s perfect. We believe there is a huge space for that.”

The US will be the main focus of the new phase of Paris Texas as Arezzo & Co. plans to capitalize on the expertise built up over the last decade as well as showrooms and three distribution centers in the market. These will be instrumental in driving the brand’s direct-to-consumer strategy, which is now primarily distributed through wholesalers.

To that end, Birman announced plans to open a flagship store in New York this year, set to open between September and November, after also establishing its own showroom in the city.

The freestanding store will be the first of a focused, directly operated rollout in which the brand will open four additional units in strategic locations worldwide, which will enhance the brand side while also serving as local distribution centers.

This direct network will help improve Paris Texas distribution in multi-brand stores and department stores. “Also in Asia, there is very little market penetration, so we want to help the brand gain exposure there,” Birman said, adding that the five-year business plan also includes “becoming more budget-oriented and helping with sourcing.” .

“This will be a maturity check for us. We will be able to leverage a world-class operational and commercial structure led by an individual who shares our vision and passion,” Baltimora reiterated.

Last week, Birman teased that a focus on Italy was coming as he presented his eponymous brand’s Fall ’23 collection in Milan. A few days before the presentation, he also unveiled a capsule collection with Antonia, the city’s luxury multi-brand store, while hinting that big projects were in the pipeline, saying that “Arezzo, born in Brazil and inspired by Italy was to have a foothold in the country after 50 years.”

Massimo Baltimora, Alexandre Birman and Anna Maria Brivio

(L-R): Massimo Baltimora, Alexandre Birman and Annamaria Brivio.

Alongside the Paris-Texas deal, Birman revealed the group will be acquiring a shoe factory in Tuscany – hence the brief detour to the region, where he was joined by Brivio and Baltimora. “Not only will this support the growth of Paris Texas, but we will also start producing Alexandre Birman shoes – made in Italy,” he said.

“I’m Brazilian and of course that makes me proud, but I would never try to compare it to Made in Italy. I’m Brazilian with Italian roots,” he continued, quickly switching to Italian as he recalled his experiences living in Florence since 1993 and attending all editions of Lineapelle.

“So now I also own an Italian company and that’s very important to me as an individual and a businessman,” Birman added, realizing his path was closing. “Imagine you bring the founder of Arezzo, my father, to Arezzo [the city] the moment we make our first international acquisition of an Italian brand: it’s something very significant… But we believe in an Italian expression that goes: “Klavier, si va lontano”. [‘slowly slowly, you get far,’ in English]. This is how it will be: step by step.” Arezzo & Co. Acquires Controlling Interest in Paris Texas Footwear – Footwear News

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