‘ Tis the season to be jolly
There seem to be good reasons to be thankful for a relatively good year as we approach the end of 2013. And yet, many a Cassandra–pundit foretold tempestuous seas. The United States did not fall over a fiscal cliff, neither did it default on its debt; the Eurozone avoided, in extremis perhaps, another crisis; China’s economy kept on the rails and, surprisingly, Iran’s relations with the rest of the world improved.
In Switzerland, things seem on track, with the economy likely to achieve a pleasing 1.8% growth by the end of December.
Our export industry is expected to improve, as the international economy, in particular the recovery which is beginning to take root in the Euro region, is likely to provide a positive impetus.
To the south, though, the situation is far from pleasing. Italy, Europe’s fourth largest economy, has suffered not only financially but also – and more traditionally – politically over the past few years. The country is well known for its influential and innovative business sector as well as for its creative and high-quality automobile, industrial, appliance and fashion design.
This issue of Swiss Style features in a rare interview Gildo Zegna, a renowned representative of the Italian fashion industry, the county’s second largest exporter. The company he heads, Ermenegildo Zegna, is lauded for its textile savoir-faire and bullet-proof craftsmanship, backed by a 103-year-old textile manufacturing legacy. In a country where a killer suit has the power to open doors, Zegna is the locksmith; and he explains how to Courtney Smith, our correspondent in Milan. Courtney also reports on the ins and outs of this year’s Milan Fashion Week, which took place in September: eye candy for the aficionados among us.
Italy is not only Europe’s Fashion Central, it is also an essential source of culture and history. Swiss Style’s Editor-in-Chief Allison Zurfluh undertook an expedition to Rome to report on Colosseum restorations as funded by Tod’s Group in collaboration with correspondent Luca Della Libera. The luxury footwear and leather goods company is actively contributing to the sustainability of Italian culture and history through its efforts. Allison followed the Farnese Dynasty – closely connected to Flavian Amphitheatre history – to Lake Bolsena, where luxury is an essential commodity at a local B&B.
This issue also coincides with the Swiss launch of BMW’s latest innovation: the i3, which is the German constructor’s premiere fully electric car. Though not the first carmaker to go all-the-way electric, this automobile’s design is arguably what sets it apart, signalling a sea change in the sector. Alexandre Farago, who heads up the Emil Frey distributorship in Geneva, tells the story behind this model with high voltage enthusiasm. As we approach the festive season, Danièle Mégardon, Swiss Style’s luxury expert, looked into a segment of the luxury market that typically shifts into overdrive during the festivities: the business of the luxury spirits market.
As the old carol goes: ‘Don we now our gay apparel’! Happy Holidays from Swiss Style!
John François Béguin