Jewelry, VicenzaOro Style



New year, new VicenzaOro Winter show

If it’s January, you may be gearing up for the first show of the year in Vicenza, Italy. Organized by Fiera di Vicenza, VicenzaOro Winter, set for Jan. 19–24, draws nearly 1,500 exhibitors from some 30 countries and about 32,000 attendees from all over Europe (not to mention from the United States). The show is a crucial primary indicator of styles and sales for the year ahead.

Lecil Henderson, owner of Charlotte, N.C.–based Henderson Collection, has attended the fair for years, not only as part of a routine visit to his Italian manufacturing facilities but also to see new trends. “We like to get a European perspective of fashion,” he explains.

Ditto for Lester Friedlander, president of New York City’s Clover II Corp. “We have always looked to the fair as a bellwether for trends…that can affect our branded businesses, in relation to materials and finishes,” he says. He hopes Italian manufacturers will continue to evolve to appeal to more discerning buyers, adding that with higher production costs than other countries, product newness is essential. “In this market,” he says, “we cannot pass on premiums.”

Also a priority: putting a finger on the pulse of the jewelry manufacturing industry. “With so many Italian companies closing and consolidating over the past decade, we like to make sure we have alternative supply chain options,” says Henderson. Adds Friedlander: “The gold business continues to be a challenge for the middle market.”

Franco Pianegonda, a maker of silver jewelry who is headquartered in Vicenza, has a much different perspective. While he’s not exhibiting at ­VicenzaOro, he will be meeting with buyers in town for the fair, showing them new designs inspired by love, light, and color: 60-inch-long chains, coral and malachite accents, and “big sculpture for the body,” he says.

“The business of luxury changed,” he told JCK recently. “The economy is weak, but the woman continues to buy our jewelry because it has entry-level prices, but also because she appreciates my art. It’s responsible luxury and pure happiness!”