MILAN — Pal Zileri’s production arm, Forall Confezioni SpA, is being offered a second chance.
A return to tailoring was one of the main trends at Milan Men’s Fashion Week in June and this renewed interest in the category is now paired with the appearance of a white knight eyeing Forall.
According to local sources, manufacturing company J6, founded and helmed by Nicola Ferraretto, has signed a letter of intent to acquire the Forall production site in Quinto Vicenino, in the Veneto region of Italy.
J6 is also based in the same area and manufactures tailored designs for several international brands. The industrial partnership would not entail the acquisition of the Pal Zileri brand, which is controlled by the Qatar-based fund Mayhoola, owner of Valentino and Balmain.
Another significant step in saving Forall’s Quinto Vicento plant is Wednesday’s agreement with the Veneto region, Confindustria Vicenza and the unions to extend the state’s wage extraordinary fund, or CIGS, for another 12 months. This will allow employees to be paid through the wage fund and ensure continuity while a new industrial plan is presented by the buyer. A final approval by the Ministry of Labor is pending.
The goal is to protect as many of the 113 employees of the Quinto Vicento plant as possible, noted Massimiliano Tintinelli, chief restructuring officer and board member of Forall Confezioni.
“With the constant support of our shareholder Mayhoola, we have always believed that seeking an industrial partner was the best possible solution for the plant in Quinto Vicento and the people working there,” Tintinelli said. Extending the CIGS fund “allows us to explore our talks with an important investor in the territory.”
Sources say Pal Zileri’s collections will continue to be produced in Quinto Vicento under the new owner of the plant.
Sonia Paoloni, national secretary of the Filctem Cgil union, on Thursday touted these new developments. “This is an important result for the territory, for Made in Italy and for the entire fashion sector that aims at protecting and relaunching Italian production and its expertise,” Paoloni said.
Pal Zileri is helmed by Leo Scordo, who has worked for Borsalino, the Ermenegildo Zegna group and CP Company. He succeeded Marco Sanavia in the role of chief executive officer last year.
In June, the brand presented its spring 2023 collection with a more casual take on tailoring in its new showroom in central Milan. The brand introduced the Tiepolo line, hinged on a ’90s-inspired blazer jacket and pants with double pleats, defining a relaxed silhouette.
For the past few years, traditional Italian menswear brands have been trying to cope with the change in attitude toward classic tailoring, adapting to consumers’ need for easier and younger looks, and adding streetwear and sportswear elements to their collections. Those efforts were then curbed by the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects. Working from home and the lack of formal events — including weddings, a cornerstone for Pal Zileri — was another severe impact on business.
As reported at the end of December 2020, Forall informed trade unions that it planned to cease the operations of its manufacturing plant in Quinto Vicenza, outside the Italian town of Vicenza, which at the time meant laying off 250 employees working at the plant.
Mayhoola first took a 65 percent stake in Forall in 2014. Two years later, the fund bought the remaining 35 percent of the firm from Arafa Holding, representing its commitment to expand the brand over the long term.
Founded in 1970 in Quinto Vicento, in the ’80s Forall collaborated with Luciano Soprani, Verri, Antonio Fusco, Krizia, Trussardi and Moschino to produce and distribute their men’s lines. The company went on to expand in the ’90s and developed Pal Zileri into a classic, highly crafted brand that employs top fabrics ranging from cashmere and guanaco to vicuña and is available in more than 70 countries.
The brand is now designed by a team, following the exit of creative director Rocco Iannone in 2019 and, before him, Mauro Ravizza Krieger.