EXCLUSIVE: Vespa Unveils ‘The Empty Space,’ Its Lifestyle Project, Starting From Fashion

MILAN – Classy, bucolic, cinematic are all adjectives befitting the iconic Vespa scooter, but parent company Piaggio Group is now betting that there’s more to their distinctive two-wheel brand to be leveraged.

Catapulted to global fame by Audrey Hepburn riding on the back of Gregory Peck’s scooter in the 1953 iconic movie “Roman Holiday,” Vespa is plotting a lifestyle push, which incidentally starts from a fashion collection.

Called “The Empty Space,” the lifestyle project “was born out of fully acknowledging that Vespa is not only a mobility brand but a lifestyle one,” said Davide Zanolini, executive vice president of marketing and communication of Piaggio Group, in an interview.

“On the other end we have observed and reflected on today’s youth, on how the ‘Uber generation’ is veering away from traditional mobility and uses public transports, Uber or Lyft to move around. It triggered us to think how Vespa could be their life buddy via other means than a vehicle,” he said.

Zanolini described the new platform as a hotbed for experimentation — and for risk-taking — an “empty space that we want to fill with experiences and adventures that are not related to mobility while somewhat engaging with it.”

The Vespa Summer Edit campaign by Johnny Dufort.

The Vespa Summer Edit campaign by Johnny Dufort.

Johnny Dufort/Courtesy of Vespa

“We don’t want to set boundaries. Let’s just say that Vespa is getting into ‘self-expression’,” he added. “Vespa is undoubtedly recognized globally as a symbol of Made in Italy. The risk associated with this perception is to be stereotyped and banalized. On the contrary, Vespa has always been perceived as contemporary and perfectly at ease in the present,” he contended.

The first chapter debuting Wednesday comprises a selection of Vespa-branded fashion pieces, including jeans, bomber jackets bearing the signature V logo, tracksuits, tank tops and even a pantsuit with drawstring pants. Called “Summer Edit,” it includes men’s and women’s pieces, items labeled as genderless, which were photographed by British photographer Johnny Dufort in an irreverent campaign featuring horses.

Vespa had orchestrated collaborations in the fashion space before, linking up with Emporio Armani in 2016; sneaker guru Sean Wotherspoon in 2020, and Dior in 2021. Zanolini highlighted that other collaborations have included Walt Disney last year and Justin Bieber in 2022, signaling Vespa’s legitimacy across several industries.

“We are not aiming to become a fashion brand; this industry doesn’t need a new brand to be expanding its footprints. We just want fashion to be one of the languages we use to telegraph our world,” he said. “It’s about tapping into a new audience,” he added.

“We know it’s not going to be easy, but we also know that millions of people have enjoyed Vespa and we are confident we can make people enjoy the brand through different perspectives, too,” Zanolini said.

As fashion is the first of many adjoining lifestyle industries Vespa is tapping into, the brand recruited an experienced team of designers to back the creative studio, who are in ongoing conversations with moped designers. “We have to build a credibility in this space… to become a familiar brand in this segment, too,” Zanolini acknowledged.

The Vespa Summer Edit campaign by Johnny Dufort.

The Vespa Summer Edit campaign by Johnny Dufort.

Johnny Dufort/Courtesy of Vespa

The existing Vespa merchandising collection for two-wheel enthusiasts will remain in place and continue to be distributed through the traditional network of moped dealers.

The new lifestyle-leaning fashion line, on the contrary, is hitting “The Empty Space” website on Wednesday with prices ranging from 90 euros for silk bandanas to 2,900 euros for lambskin outerwear. Zanolini said that wholesale operations are being assessed and put in place. 

Marking the new division’s debut and further reinforcing its experiential component, Vespa is debuting “By The Sea,” a takeover of a beach resort in Paraggi, in Italy’s seaside region of Liguria.

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