NEW YORK — Ippolita has named Ashley Bryan chief marketing officer, effective April 28.
Bryan has served as cmo at Moda Operandi since November 2011, and previously was head of U.S. marketing and sales at Net-a-porter. “I am really [pleased] to work with the team focused around product design, and see it from the creation all the way to the consumer,” Bryan said of her new role.
Bryan’s appointment is part of the jewelry company’s marketing-focused push. “She’s incredibly strong digitally and incredibly strong in p.r., and those are two of the most important levers we have right now in order to raise the awareness of the brand,” said chief executive officer Joe Cavalcante. “The profile of the brand and the awareness is not completely aligned with how much business we’re actually doing. We’re such a product-focused company that we’ve had our nose to the grindstone developing and making product, and have been too slow, quite frankly, to really work on the brand and the brand story.”
E-commerce will be a strong focus for the label moving forward. Online sales account for less than 5 percent of overall sales; Cavalcante eventually hopes to hit 8 to 10 percent. “[E-commerce] is our best opportunity to reach the customer and tell the customer about us,” he said. “We are very highly underpenetrated in our e-commerce business currently. It’s a really low-hanging fruit for us.”
With Bryan on board, Cavalcante also hopes to better understand the brand’s customer base and eventually expand beyond the established demographic. “We’re a little challenged in that arena because we are primarily a wholesaler,” he said. “We have fantastic relations with Neiman Marcus, Saks, etc., but we don’t own those customers. Those are their customers, so we don’t know as much about our customers as we really should. One of [Bryan’s] primary responsibilities right out the gate is going to be to really dive into whom our customer is and learning about her. That will help us formulate business strategy going forward.”
Cavalcante describes the core Ippolita customer as 45 to 50 years old, a resident of the Upper East Side and “a very stylish woman, but more on the conservative side.” To target a younger customer, the brand has entered a new business category: charms. Priced from $195 to $2,995, Cavalcante hopes the new line will target a younger, “more downtown and bohemian” customer. “There are many charm lines out there, but none of our competition does a fantastic job,” said Cavalcante. “It’s also white space for us in terms of customer process. We’re doing a decent job of serving our core customer, and not doing a good enough job of reaching out to additional customer profiles. We think that charms can do that for us.”
“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