Andrea Montelpare will produce and distribute worldwide Gianfranco Ferré branded children’s footwear, starting with a line for Fall/Winter 2004-05 that was presented at the Pitti Bimbo fair in Florence a few days ago. The Italian children’s footwear specialist will also exhibit for the first time at next March’s MIDEC, the French footwear show, where it is expected to showcase its first Chupa Chups collection.

The terms of the Chupa Chups license, which Montelpare has taken from Mod’8 of France, are still being defined. On the other hand, Andrea Montelpare, owner of the eponymous shoemaking company, claims that the new Ferré licensed collection proposes a wider range of models than in previous seasons when the line was managed directly by the Italian fashion house and produced by subcontractors, with no licensee.

The new Ferré collection has 60 models spread over three specific lines - baby, kids and junior - which all contain both unisex and boys’ or girls’ designs. The spirit and inspiration for the footwear are the same as for the kids’ clothing collection, but the footwear concept has been designed to stand alone as an autonomous product

The models will be produced in Montelpare’s 4 Italian factories - 2 of which are company-owned while the firm has a majority stake in the other 2 - and by a number of specialized contract manufacturers. The firm’s private labels, Andrea Montelpare and Bumper, and the brands which it produces under license - Husky Bimbo, I Pinco Pallino 1950 and Ice Ice Iceberg - are already produced in the same facilities.

The brand Ferré will be distributed worldwide in Ferré concept stores and in speciality multi-brand outlets. Andrea Montelpare produces around 600,000 pairs of footwear a year for a turnover of around €25 million. Exports, mainly to European countries, account for around 70 percent of sales.