Zilli is serious: luxury clothes defy the downturn

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The Independent Online

While retailers on London's Oxford Street are halving prices to get goods off the shelves, a few hundred yards away in New Bond Street, Zilli customers are walking out of the doors with £8,000 cashmere jackets and chinchilla fur coats.

Arnauld Corbin, Zilli's UK brand ambassador for the Lyon-based French luxury menswear label, said the London shop has just had its best November since it opened 25 years ago. Mr Corbin added: "We were slightly worried by the credit crunch but we have been surprised to have the best month ever. Business is still good, with many people from Russia and the Middle East renewing their wardrobes."

Zilli is a family-owned and run affair: Alain Schimel is the founder and chairman, his son is managing director, his wife is the fashion director, his daughter is in charge of duty free, the son-in-law runs the shoes while his god-daughter looks after the cuff-links.

Mr Corbin said Zilli is heading for a 30 per cent increase in profit this year to €70m (£62m). Who said keeping it in the family doesn't pay? It employs 300 people in 29 countries around the world.