Despite the high density of billionaire brands, two French conglomerates own four of Italy’s billion-euro brands. Consider that Bulgari – the crown jewel of Italian jewellery, was acquired in March 2011 for €3.7 billion, even more expensive than Tiffany & Co. The maker of the Bvlgari Octo is already a recipient of seven consecutive Grand Prix d’Horlogerie awards. Italians approach luxury uniquely in that beauty is made for beauty’s sake without consideration for scalability. Dolce&Gabbana; (our exclusive on p.108) earned €1.35 billion entirely on the basis that Italian luxury is rare, hand-made and exclusive. The Della Valle family, owners of Tod’s, follows in the footsteps of the Medici family, funding the artisans who will painstakingly restore the Wonder of the World by hand (p.102) and it’s pretty much how it has been making its loafers since 1920. It is the Italian way that coined the very term “lifestyle”.