By  on October 2, 2008

PARIS — Propelled by Alber Elbaz’s seductive designs, Lanvin is on track to become a $200 million fashion house this year.

The growth, forecast at 30 percent for 2008, is driven primarily by strong sell-through in existing doors as the privately held company pursues modest retail expansion of three to four units over the next two years, said Lanvin president Paul Deneve.

Disclosing key financial figures to WWD, Deneve said Lanvin posted revenues last year of 108.6 million euros, or $148.9 million, not including royalty income of 3.7 million euros, or $5.1 million.

That compares with 2005 revenues, excluding royalties, of 67 million euros, or $83.4 million. Dollar figures are converted from euros at average exchange rates for the respective periods.

The gains reflect a retooling of the company, shaving almost two months off delivery times, which Deneve acknowledged were subpar when he arrived at the helm in early 2006. By the end of August, Lanvin had delivered 100 percent of its pre-fall collection and 70 percent of runway looks.

Reflecting strides made in leather goods, sell-throughs in handbags stood at 45 to 61 percent by mid-September, Deneve said, stressing a “broad range” of styles sold well as opposed to an “It” bag, a term Elbaz dislikes.

Deneve declined to give results for other categories, but noted, “We’ve had record sell-throughs compared to all the previous seasons we’ve had, which I think is an excellent result for Alber. It shows how he’s bringing the brand forward and creating this desire.”

Women’s ready-to-wear represented 42 percent of the business last year, with men’s wear at 31 percent and accessories for women and men at 27 percent, Deneve said.

By region, Europe represented 43 percent of sales last year, the U.S. 24 percent, Asia 18 percent and the Middle East and Russia 15 percent.

In an interview, the executive described “step-by-step” growth in the wholesale channel, renovations of the existing store network and gradual boutique expansion.

The women’s flagship in Paris — which was enlarged and renovated a year ago with raw concrete floors, gleaming lacquer panels, industrial shelving and Art Deco accents — posted sales 23 percent above plan, Deneve said. Meanwhile, sales in the firm’s recently overhauled Monaco store, which showcases women’s and men’s collections, are already running 60 percent above target and should double, without any increase in selling space.

This week, renovations on the men’s store in Paris were completed, with floors devoted to Lanvin’s runway collection, more classic offerings, sportswear and bespoke tailoring. Lanvin’s 4,300-square-foot flagship in Tokyo’s Ginza district is the next project for renovation, including a new facade, to be completed for spring.

There are 10 company-owned stores: four in Europe and six in Asia. There are also 30 stores operated with partners. Deneve confirmed Lanvin would open a, 2,200-square-foot women’s wear flagship on Mount Street in London next January, after christening a new men’s unit on Savile Row last month during London Fashion Week.

Manhattan remains a key priority for a Lanvin boutique, with Milan and Los Angeles other possibilities, but Deneve said finding the right location in keeping with “the spirit and style of Lanvin” and the “human-size” culture Elbaz aims to preserve takes priority over speed.

Meanwhile, product expansion has been gradual, with the casual, item-driven 22 Faubourg line and bridal collection introduced last year, and a capsule range of denim apparel in collaboration with Swedish firm Acne.

As reported, Lanvin entered the black in 2007 for the first time in a decade, and Deneve said the company would pursue profitable growth, despite investments in renovations and new boutiques. He declined comment on reports a fund linked to the ruling family of Qatar is in talks to acquire a stake in Lanvin. However, he reiterated that owner Shaw-Lan Wang is committed that Lanvin remain independent and family owned.

“It’s for several generations that she wants Lanvin to be part of her family,” Deneve said. “For her, it’s a much longer perspective.”�

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