By Jacquie De Almeida
Black rhodium, labradorite, and snake designs greeted visitors to VicenzaOro ‘Winter,’ an event kicking off the trade show season and providing a sneak peek at the year’s hottest trends.
More than 29,000 people attended ‘Winter’ and its technology fair, T-GOLD, a testament to the strength of the ‘Made in Italy’ brand.
Traffic throughout the fair’s various halls appeared steady, particularly in Hall B, which houses elite jewellery brands like Roberto Coin, Vianna Joias, and Garavelli.
While the fair has traditionally been a hub for local retailers, the growing presence of international buyers—some of them part of organized buying groups—became apparent.
It’s a result of the emphasis the show’s organizer is placing on bringing the ‘Made in Italy’ brand to emerging markets keen on Italian design. The timing of the event comes as Italy works to recover from its economic uncertainty and elections loom, further fuelling speculation the euro zone’s third-largest economy may be looking for a bailout this year.
The fair’s focus on instilling optimism among exhibitors and buyers alike came to the fore in its theme, “The Future. Now.” In fact, fair president Roberto Ditri’s emphasis on the word, ‘now,’ when speaking about the theme at various press events helped convey the message that today’s work lays the foundation for tomorrow’s rewards.
Part of that includes the announcement the fair’s invitation-only event—About J—will bring together 35 select Italian and international brands, 100 international buyers and top Italian retailers, and journalists from leading Italian and foreign publications. Running from Sept. 4 to 7, About J will be held in Venice this year, a location combining Italian history and culture with artistry and manufacturing.
The fair’s emphasis on collaboration to build the Italian brand also came in the form of a new deal with the Associazione Orafa Valenzana (AOV), which represents Italy’s Valenza district, a manufacturing centre for high-quality jewellery and precious stone mountings.
The agreement identifies Fiera di Vicenza as a strategic partner in the organization of national and international events for the jewellery sector, and premium jewellery in particular. The deal also calls for AOV to promote About J starting with the 2013 edition.
As work continues on a pavilion and multi-storey parking garage to be completed this year, the fair announced a new exhibition formula it is dubbing the ‘Boutique Show.’ Starting with ‘Winter’ 2014, exhibitors will be organized into ‘communities’ reflecting categories identified by TrendVision, the fair’s independent research centre.
At the close of the five-day event, Ditri praised exhibitors and the fair’s partners for their contribution to its success.
“I would like to thank our company partners for this wonderful edition of VicenzaOro and for all the new ideas and the great variety of the jewellery on display, their evident research, and extremely qualified offerings,” he said.
“The influx of visitors is a positive sign for the jewellery world, especially for Italian-made products. If the abundance of Italian traders is a good sign, then the presence of foreigners, particularly in terms of the quality and determination of the buyers, is extremely significant.”
For a full report from VicenzaOro ‘Winter,’ stay tuned for the April issue of Jewellery Business.