Valentino has launched its first optical collection under the Rome-based brand’s partnership with Akoni Group.
Now rolling out at retail, the collection debuted in Paris at Silmo in September. Frames channel creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli’s couture details with a mix of unique details such as the signature studs, logo and, of course, a vibrant use of color. The collection is made in Japan using the finest Japanese acetate, titanium and ceramic, and blends high-quality industrial production with handmade construction.
It is understood that the U.S. is the target market for Akoni Group, which launched an e-commerce platform this summer and is opening a logistics facility in Miami. “Akoni Group decided to open the subsidiary in Miami because beside New York City, Miami became a center for business and trends, and we saw also the advantage to be close to business in Latin America in terms of positioning,” explained Rosario Toscano, Akoni’s chief executive officer.
“USA when we speak about eyewear business is arguably the strongest market and we had the demand to set up one of the headquarters there as many big eyewear players are doing. Of course, these are our first steps to grow considering that we were born in 2019, but we will absolutely expand our presence in Asia too,” he said.
The executive declined to disclose the company’s annual revenue or volumes but said sales doubled year-on-year in 2022 and are increasing by more than 30 percent this year. Geographically and across the three brands, Europe is the main market for the company (35 percent of revenue), followed by the U.S. (29 percent). Along with the e-commerce Stateside, Akoni has opened pop-up stores at Isetan in Tokyo and Hankyu in Osaka, Japan. Toscano added that the company had longer-term plans to open flagship stores for the Akoni brand, ideally in New York, Dubai and Milan.
Effective in July 2022, Valentino signed a 10-year agreement to license with the Switzerland-based Akoni for the design, manufacture and worldwide distribution of the brand’s eyewear collections. The Valentino optical collection is priced from from $730 to $1,270, sold in department stores and selected opticians worldwide.