LOS ANGELES —Gaia Repossi and her family’s Italian jewelry brand walk that fine line between striving for greater brand awareness and a concerted effort to retain niche status.Repossi, who has served as creative director at the company since 2007, is in town to celebrate the brand’s launch at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills.“We’ve been in the U.S. for the past six years and the strategy’s expanding. Beverly Hills is great for diamonds,” Repossi said of the unveiling at Saks.The brand is sold in 70 points of sale, including The Webster, The Apartment by The Line, Printemps, Le Bon Marché, Montaigne Market, Lane Crawford and Dover Street Market. That’s in addition to two flagship locations in Paris and Monaco. Opening additional flagships is in the works, but Repossi tempered those goals saying the growth would be organic in key cities where the brand already has awareness.Flagships Stateside would appear to be part of the plan.“There’s a big awareness here for the product and still in that niche very trendy way, which I love, in New York and L.A. and certain key cities,” the designer said. “I think the product is really appealing to certain tastes here in the States so, yes, eventually quite soon. There’s already some structuring happening.”Part of that’s being driven by an investment two years ago by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which took a minority stake in the business in a move the company said at the time was aimed at growth through greater branding and increased distribution.“We share the same values for product, the same values for a certain elegance in how we develop a brand, and it was sort of [an] evident next step into the growth of the company,” Repossi said looking back at what’s been achieved since the deal with LVMH. “What’s very interesting to me is that we’re exploring a lot of new directions for the brand in terms of identity, in terms of positioning and now we’re in this critical stage where you want to build an awareness to a wider audience and with a group like that you can do it in a very smart way without compromising the identity of the brand, the beautiful craftsman[ship], the quality of the work. It’s entirely European.”For Repossi’s part, as the company’s designer, how the collections evolve will play into where the overall brand goes as the company seeks out that larger audience. The designer said her goal today is about making modern product.“That’s really my number-one priority to make product that’s really relevant nowadays because jewelry is in a place that is very questionable: Is it necessary today? Is it not? Is it part of the silhouette? We wear pants, we drive, we work, women are equal,” she said. “And so what is the jewelry for that woman, and at the same time express the beauty and a design that is surprising?”More collaborations are in the works and the designer allowed that, while the company has historically worked with bloggers and other influencers in a strategic way, it’s looking to go deeper with those relationships.”“We’re a brand that’s very niche in the sense that we don’t embrace the mass of Instagram and social media so maybe that’s also another step that we’re working on,” Repossi said. “I think now there’s a new direction also for brands that are very conceptual or very straight point of view, like Céline, and I think now there’s a space also for these brands, which is new. L.A. is very social media-centered so I’d be interested to explore. It’s very interesting because [social media’s] a powerful communication and I feel there’s a moment now where…it’s going to go in a direction [where there] is also room for conceptual [brands] so I’m very interested in that.”For More West Coast Coverage in WWD:Dov Charney Returns to Retail Via Los Angeles ApparelGuess Taps Jennifer Lopez for Spring CampaignCotton On Chases Upside in Sleepwear With Line’s U.S. Rollout
For its next men’s wear collection, @roberto_cavalli will show as a special guest at #PittiUomo, running from June 12-15. The brand, which has Florence in its roots, will relaunch its men’s wear collection, which will be presented separately from women’s wear for the first time since Paul Surridge was appointed creative director in May. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
“I was making the guacamole when my scout saw me,” says model @stuckinteenage on being discovered just six months ago while working at @chipotlemexicangrill. Since then Williams has signed with @dnamodels, walked in her first show at @calvinklein and landed on the cover of @vogueitalia – a high point of any model’s career. To read @lisajlockwood’s full interview with the model on her experiences thus far, head to WWD.com – link in bio. (📷: George Chinsee)
“I love the idea of dialogue, period. It’s where I’ve always gotten my inspiration from: hearing other women speak, their journeys and their paths,” said @hereisgina, who delivered the keynote speech at the @sxsw conference for @createcultivate, the online platform and conference series for women. For her two panels, Rodriguez chose female empowering, female-led and female entrepreneurs to focus on. Head to WWD.com to read more about her thoughts on Time’s Up, growing up in a family of women and why we “need a girls’ club.” #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.