MILAN — The René Caovilla brand will turn 80 next year and is gearing up to celebrate with the third generation in place at the head of the company and plans to expand globally.
Events to mark the anniversary are slated to take place in Venice, where the brand is manufactured, and in New York, in addition to other cities in Europe early next year. There also will be two capsule collections for department stores such as Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus.
Introducing his first solo collection in Milan during fashion week for spring, chief executive officer Edoardo Caovilla said the pieces have a more youthful and contemporary edge. For example, sneakers and espadrilles with crystals were displayed alongside the feminine jewel sandals the brand is known for.
“It’s more about additional pieces, rather than drastic changes, and it’s in response to our customers’ requests,” said Caovilla, who joined the company as chief operating officer in 2009 and was appointed creative director this year. His father, René Fernando, will continue to hold the title of president.
With about 30 doors, the U.S. is Caovilla’s largest wholesale market, accounting for about 35 percent of wholesale business. In the U.S., wholesale revenues climbed 53 percent with the spring collection compared to the previous year. There are also boutiques in New York, Dallas, Miami and Los Angeles.
René Caovilla is leveraging strong growth in the Asia-Pacific region over the past 18 months and has plans to open 10 stores in the next two years in key locations, including Hong Kong, Macau, Chongqing, Chengdu and Xi’an. In June, a store opened in Shanghai at new luxury mall L’Avenue and the company counts three franchised units in Beijing, Shanghai and Taipei.
Sales in 2012 rose 24 percent to 15 million euros, or $19.8 million at average exchange. In the first half of 2013, revenues climbed 32 percent.
Caovilla said he is looking at tripling sales in six or seven years through global expansion and future projects that include the launch of jewelry in spring 2015, followed by eyewear and perfumes.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast