Leiber is taking its particular brand of sparkle international.
The 45-year-old American luxury accessories brand, known for its ornate Swarovski crystal-studded evening bags, has inked distribution agreements to open stores in India and the Middle East. The deals are part of a larger strategy to grow the Pegasus Capital Advisors-owned firm. Next steps include moving into Southeast Asia and Russia.
"We've been such a small player in an ocean of luxury," said Leiber president and creative director Frank Zambrelli, who noted the firm has only six U.S. boutiques, two of which are outlet stores, and that there is a lot of growth opportunity in retail and wholesale segments.
There are also plans to open additional stores in major American cities. The brand has stores in New York, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Costa Mesa, Calif.
In the Middle East, Leiber partnered with Al-Futtaim, a luxury goods distributor based in Dubai. A 1,000-square-foot store in Dubai's recently extended shopping mall Wafi is planned for April. There are also plans to launch outposts in Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and a second store in Dubai. The stores will average from 1,700 to 2,000 square feet. The average price point is $5,000.
"The Leiber customer commutes across the globe," said Duncan Bradbury, business manager for Al-Futtaim, a 75-year-old firm that has retail partnerships with Ikea, Toys 'R' Us, Marks & Spencer and Raymond Weil.
The firm is seeking to expand its luxury profile and sees Leiber as the perfect fit due to its heightened brand awareness and product quality in categories such as crystal-studded evening bags, exotic-skin handbags, eyewear, fine jewelry, furs, footwear and fragrance. Footwear isn't a prominent category for the brand, but it is looking to bolster the division and is in talks with a prominent footwear firm to do so.
The brand has also increased its exotic skin business of late. Fifty-five to 60 percent of sales are from its crystal pieces. Leiber's recent collaborations with designers such as Andrew Gn, Rachel Zoe and Azzaro have introduced the brand to a wider audience. In August 2006, the company changed its brand name from Judith Leiber to Leiber to make its image younger and open it up to men's."There's an ever-growing demand for accessories," said Duncan. "[The Middle Eastern] customer has always demanded the very exclusive and exquisite."
Duncan added accessories are vital to local women who wear traditional Islamic garb such as the hijab and abaya.
In India, Leiber has partnered with Marigold Group, a luxury purveyor and operator of several stores and women's fashion brands there. The first Leiber store will open in the spring, with a second to follow in Mumbai. Madan K. Assomull, chairman of Marigold, said selling luxury in India is specialized, so Leiber will offer salespeople to come to the home of a client. It will also host trunk shows in places where having a store isn't an option.
"My mother and the women in my family have always owned Judith Leibers," said Assomull. "It's a tradition in my family and it's a tradition in India."
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews