FLORENCE, Italy – Strolling along the banks of the Arno river here, few would suspect what imaginative, colorful and pop world lurks behind the majestic Renaissance palace that houses the headquarters of Enrico Coveri, whose frescoed rooms contrast with an extraordinary collection of contemporary art.
While Coveri has long since abandoned seasonal shows, the brand has continued to evolve under the leadership of Silvana Coveri, sister of the late founder of the brand, and her son, artistic director Francesco Martini Coveri.
“We have continued to develop the brand in a natural way, proposing clothes for special moments and choosing the licensed model,” explained Martini Coveri. The company has about 60 active licenses and the designer has proudly defended this business model, “the result of courageous choices and strategies”.
“Why not go the licensing route if the company is solid and healthy?” supported Alessandro Maria Ferreri, managing director and owner of The Style Gate consulting company. “Jobs are created for the production chain and Francesco has chosen his path without respecting most of the brands. After all, fashion is a different constellation. Brands turn to an eyewear or fragrance licensee to leverage experience in that segment. When you work with specialists on different categories, you recognize that things are done better. You don’t lose control if there is intellectual honesty and there are fewer headaches associated with this strategy, which helped Coveri become a leader in underwear, for example. “
“There are so many different ways to communicate with customers and the goal is to talk to those who are willing to understand, while maintaining our identity. We are not exhausted, “said Martini Coveri.
This identity emerges strong and clear in the brand’s headquarters, which continues to host the Coveri atelier and archives, where thousands of models are hidden.
Andy Warhol’s portraits of both the founder and his sister embellish the palace – which also includes the family home – as well as the paintings of the Coveri logo, revisited by 100 artists in 1987 to celebrate the brand’s first decade of activity, by Mimmo Rotella to Antonio Recalcati. There are also several references to Enrico Coveri’s collaboration with Keith Haring.
The Palazzo Gallery, inside Palazzo Coveri, inaugurated in 2004, is dedicated to modern and contemporary art. In June 2019, during Pitti Uomo, Coveri presented “Seasons”, a mural in the courtyard of Palazzo Coveri created by New Yorker Chris Ellis, artistically known as Daze. This was the first time that street art entered a Medici palace and it was the first fresco that Daze made in a covered area.
The latest development for Coveri is a collaboration with Galateo & Friends, a company founded in 2002 in Arma di Taggia, in Liguria, the heart of the production of Taggiasca extra virgin olive oil., by the entrepreneur Marco Bonaldo.
As part of the When Food Meets Fashion project, the capsule includes a Chianti wine vinegar; a Taggiasca extra virgin olive oil; an extra virgin olive oil with basil; a Sicilian pepper and salt oil, as well as two small porcelain sauces plates, all characterized by colorful Coveri prints, and available with a sophisticated gift box.
“The idea is to look for brands that have a very recognizable aesthetic and that are somehow part of the collective memory of fashion”, said Ferreri, who has been collaborating with Bonaldo for some time on strategies and negotiations. “It doesn’t matter if the brand is small or large, famous or niche, Marco and I are constantly looking for beauty and in the case of Enrico Coveri we really feel that we have selected a very strong aesthetic memory that still has enormous potential” .
A key word is “friends” for the brand, that is the numerous talents who have customized the bottles of olive oil for Bonaldo, from Carla Sozzani and Paola Navone to Tricia Guild, Jacqueline Morabito, Antonio Marras, Mary Katrantzou and Sam Baron. Bonaldo’s gastronomic range is available in Michelin-starred restaurants around the world, from Alain Ducasse to Bottura, from Daniel Humm’s Eleven Madison Park to Beck’s Pergola, Palazzo Versace and Armani and Bulgari hotels.
Bonaldo, in fact, underlined how the personal relationship is the basis of the collaboration, born from the shared goal of creating a gourmet line designed by Coveri, seeing the opportunity it offered, “leveraging the beautiful and joyful colors and prints of the brand . We have transformed the imagination into a concrete idea, but you need to have the right passion to do it and Francesco’s eyes immediately shone just talking about it “.
“We are always looking for different challenges and cross pollinations,” explained Martini Coveri. “We have to surround ourselves with something that gives us joy and it is so easy to understand that good food gives us strong emotions and satisfies the senses – I would come to compare art and good food. Oil is my personal passion and I took courses as an olive oil sommelier. The designer praised the “tradition, culture and craftsmanship” that fashion and food have in common.
Ferreri emphasized the strong awareness of the Coveri brand, despite the untimely death of the founder in 1990.
After launching the Touche line in 1973, at the age of 21, the first Enrico Coveri women’s collection was presented during Paris Fashion Week in 1977 and the men’s collection was launched in 1981. The Coveri fashion shows took place in New York starting in 1996 and then in Milan in 1999 Her first fragrance for women, “Paillettes”, was launched in 1982, named after a special woven sweater with large sequins. The likes of Liza Minnelli, Joan Collins, Sophia Loren and Vanessa Redgrave wore her designs and the fun and colorful brand advertisements of Bill King and Oliviero Toscani were led by Eva Herzigová, Naomi Campbell, Iman, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford and Claudia Schiffer, among others.