NEW YORK — Mark Brashear, Façonnable's chief executive officer of six years, resigned abruptly this month, but M1, the brand's owner, said it won't let that derail its expansion plans for the fashion company.
"I will be replacing Mark straight away," said Maher Mikati, ceo of M1Fashion and an executive director of M1 Group, the Beirut, Lebanon-based entity that bought Façonnable from Nordstrom for $210 million last year. "I will be fully present in Nice [Façonnable's headquarters in France] after Easter. We have a budget we're going to stick to and expansion plans that we will stick to."
Brashear could not be reached for comment. "There was no conflict," Mikati said. "It was all of a sudden. It was a decision he decided to make."
M1 hired Interbrand, a London-based brand consultancy, to "refresh" Façonnable, which had estimated worldwide sales of $220 million in 2007. Mikati said he's not looking for a radical change, but rather an organic evolution of the brand. "We're not shifting our strategy," he said. "We would like to build on Façonnable's heritage of sport chic and French Riviera lifestyle."
"This is not a brand that's in distress," said Simon Stacey, the Interbrand executive leading the project. "The store environments are clearly tired and they're not clearly differentiated [from other brands]. They're dark and quite traditional and represent a moment in time. We have to move forward. But we're not going to become Prada or a minimalist white box."
Mikati said that pilot stores based on the new concept will be introduced in July in the U.S. and Europe, with a finalized retail concept ready for rollout in September.
M1 will take Façonnable into "new markets and to new customers," Stacey said. "There is quite an ambitious expansion program. It's clear that M1 acquired the brand because it saw great potential in what was an underinvested brand."
Façonnable will open three stores in the U.S. and three in Europe this year. Six new units are planned for the U.S. and six for Europe in 2009, with the same number slated for 2010. The company is targeting Chicago and Las Vegas and considers downtown New York interesting at some point. "We would like to open stores in European cities like London and Milan, cities where we'll have to have a presence," Mikati said. "We'd also like to expand into Japan, China and Southeast Asia."The brand operates four stores in the U.S. and 37 in Europe. There are about 20 franchised stores in the Far East.
Façonnable's exclusive French image is one of its key selling points, but some found the brand somewhat unapproachable. "The product is beautifully presented, but you can't touch," Stacey said, adding his job is to figure out "how to make this brand more accessible."
The company may have entered too many categories for the size of its stores. Stacey said he'd prefer a clearer, more edited product offer.
Mikati, however, has one category he'd like to add. "I'd like to get into children's wear," he said. "I just had a baby. I'd like my son to wear Façonnable. We want to reinforce our core products, including shirts and suits, and expand into children's wear and home furnishings."
Nordstrom remains Façonnable's biggest wholesale customer. "We would definitely like to expand our wholesale network, but Façonnable won't be in mass distribution," said Mikati. "We want to maintain our position as a French luxury brand."
@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