OCTOBER 11, 2006
Briatore and the Rag Trade
Renault F1 boss Flavio Briatore came to Formula 1 having spent several years opening Benetton stores in the United States of America. In his time there Briatore opened something like 800 stores, which were all run by franchise-holders. This number reduced dramatically later, falling to around 200 as the demand for Benetton products stabilised. Despite this it was the franchise-holders who suffered rather than Benetton, which had its money up front.
Now Briatore is planning to return to his old trade, with plans to open 25 clothing stores around the world for his Billionaire fashion brand. The brand dates back to 1997 when Briatore opened a restaurant in Porto Cervo in Sardinia made famous by a menu so expensive that only people with no idea of the value of money could have dinner without being troubled by normal human beings. Briatore was, of course, not averse to collecting the money that these people were so keen to spend.
Extending the joke, Briatore last year decided to launch a clothing firm called Billionaire Couture, a fashion line with Angelo Galasso as the designer, with ostentation once again being the primary brand value. The first shop opened in London and has, apparently, been successful as Briatore has now opened a second in Tokyo and is planning to open further outlets in bastions of good taste such as Las Vegas and Moscow. These will feed the need for moderately rich people to appear to be very rich.
He plans to have 25 stores in three years.
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