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:: Spotlight :: Delta by anabella - a chat with designer Bruno Schiavi

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

Australian singing star Delta Goodrem and acclaimed fashion designer Bruno Schiavi recently launched their co-designed lingerie line Delta by anabella in Sydney. It is available in K-Mart stores in Australia and New Zealand and predictions indicate a hugely successful line that will soon take it to other overseas destinations.

Bruno Schiavi is originally from Rome and he has a degree in marketing. He began a venture into clothes in 1996 with a Pocket Sock – sock with zipper. Then he moved to MensFit – of which Blair McDonagh is the face. It comprises underwear and sleepwear for men. From there he launched anabella – available in K-Mart, and now comes Delta by anabella. He has also looked after Mark Phillopoussis and done work with Jodhi Packer on a collection of shoes, which is already out in Myer stores. He is about to start on a new range.

I spoke to Bruno about his career and the idea that Delta gave him about a lingerie line with a difference.

How did you meet Delta and how was the Delta by anabella idea conceived?

I met Delta on the set of the film Hating Alyson Ashley in Melbourne earlier this year. I usually spend two days a week in Melbourne dealing with Coles Myer and I was fortunate enough to be asked to go to one of the scenes that were being filmed. Delta’s manager also looks after Blair McDonagh who is the face of my underwear brand. That’s how I happened to be there. Delta and I clicked straight away. We were sitting in her caravan in between scenes. One thing led to another and I was talking about ladies lingerie to someone that I didn’t really know.

Here she is – a superstar, and me talking about bras and knickers. Quite bizarre but funny. After spending some together, Delta was talking to me about how her girlfriends like wearing beautiful garments and lingerie, but that it is so expensive. She knew about my range, anabella, which is stocked at K-Mart. I came up with the idea of doing a range together, co-designed, because she told me of the fabrics that she likes. I thought that we should pit it into a process. So we did.

That was decided in April and it’s now all happened very quickly. We worked extremely hard. We happened to be in Spain and Britain at the same time so we got a lot done overseas as well.

Tell us about the range?

The range consists of a line of ten garments including bras, bottoms, and g-strings. They are made from Italian, French, and Egyptian laces.

Delta and I designed the collection from start to finish and it is available from K-Mart. It has already been performing extremely well. One of our styles, in one of the sizes, sold out within a week. That was the Black Orchid line. That was meant to be the stock we had until February.

Bras range from $19.99 to $22.99
Briefs from $7.99 to $8.99
It is great value for the quality.

They come in black, white, ivory green, misty pink, floral (African daisy), magnolia, and gold.
It is exclusive to all K-Mart stores in Australia and New Zealand.

Are you specifically targeting Delta’s age group, or does it embrace many sizes and styles?

It covers all age groups. Delta has a wide range of fans from 13-50. That’s why for the young girls we’ve come up with things like the misty pink garment. It’s a fun bra and not too racy.

One of the positives is the fact that our sizes go up to 16DD, which most brands don’t.

We’ve seen several entertainers either design or endorse garments and cosmetics. Is it that important now to have a celebrity’s name out there for a successful venture?

Having a high-profile name is important, but you must have a high quality garment. Customers have a lot of choice. They are very smart about what they buy. They know quality when they see it. As you know, Coles Myer has one of the strictest quality control systems in the world. For us to put anything in there, they do very stringent quality testing on all the garments. Sure there is a name, but, at the same time, we wanted to offer the customers something different and affordable.

You’ve been successful over a number of years now. What has been the key to establishing a thriving clothing business?

The key to building a good business is respect. It’s a cut-throat industry. Always be aware of your competitors but have respect for other people in the industry. Too many people tend to do things a bit disrespectfully. Always praise your staff and look after them. Have a vision of where you want to go.

You’re just as good as your last collection or your last garment. Some big companies get a bit complacent with their quality sometimes. Someone like me can come from behind and put much effort into it and not be greedy. You must offer a realistic and fantastic product to keep yourself in business.

The challenge is to keep up with fresh designers all the time and keeping up with trends. Australia is becoming more and more in line with other territories, unlike five years ago. We’re up there with the best.

What’s in the pipeline for you now? I hear you’re involved in designing for the new Batman movie.

Yes, I’ve just finished designing a whole range of pyjamas for men (plus underwear and socks) for the new Batman movie. It is exclusive to us in Australia and New Zealand. We have the rights until 2006.
I’ve taken Warner Bros to a different level. They loved the designs in the US and they granted us the rights.

Note: Since our discussion, news came that the range has been going through the roof at K-Mart stores across Australia and New Zealand. The larger sizes have been amazingly popular. K-Mart’s buyers explain that the range ahs exceeded all expectations.

The first range will be launched abroad in 2005 and a new collection of Delta by anabella will launch in Australia and New Zealand in March 2005.