PARIS — Who better than Karl Lagerfeld — who fills his hours like no one else in fashion — to bring some innovation to the watch market?
His new collection, produced with licensing partner Fossil Inc., is to debut on Feb. 28, coinciding with the next Paris Fashion Week and the opening of Lagerfeld’s “world of Karl” store on the Boulevard Saint-Germain here.
The seven core styles include the Karl Zip, a cufflike watch that can be zipped and unzipped into several widths, transforming a timepiece in a multilook fashion accessory.
While he doesn’t consider himself a serious collector (and is more of a fashionably late type than a clock-watcher), Lagerfeld loves timepieces. In fact, he has been known to wear several at once.
“Like beautiful bracelets,” he enthused. “I love watches as beautiful objects.”
Retail prices range from $150 to $595, and watches come in an assortment of sizes and colors. The launch collection is to be housed in special packaging and sport engraved case backs.
Pier Paolo Righi, chief executive officer of Karl Lagerfeld, said the watches would launch initially in about 50 doors in North America, Europe and Asia. Retail partners will include Colette and Galeries Lafayette in Paris; Selfridges in London; Watch Station in Asia, and Bloomingdale’s in the U.S.
Righi noted the watches’ “accessible luxury” positioning would allow a fairly broad distribution, which will ramp up to about 500 doors by the fall season.
“It’s very Karl, but it is equally very approachable,” Righi said of the line. “He has been heavily involved in the development of the line. You really see his handwriting coming through.”
Righi lauded Fossil’s advanced technical capabilities, allowing, for example, a chain to encircle the casing of one style.
That there are seven styles is no coincidence. It has been Lagerfeld’s favorite number for so long that he said he doesn’t even remember the original reason. (And lucky for him that’s the address of his 7L bookstore and photo studio, located at 7 Rue de Lille.)
“What is unique about the collection is the use of mixed materials to create the unexpected juxtaposition between subtle and overt design details,” said Steve Woodward, senior vice president of licensed brands for the Richardson, Tex.-based maker of fashion watches and accessories. “The collection truly represents both the fashion accessory category as well as functional watch performance.”
He added that “unexpected closure systems” and other functional details allow consumers to “express their unique fashion sensibility.”
Righi said Lagerfeld would shortly photograph print and outdoor spots in support of the venture.
Woodward noted the campaign would also “rely heavily on digital media, focusing on building and engaging with our consumer’s social networks.”
“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