NEW YORK — A.P.C. turned its Mercer Street store into a nightclub Thursday night to celebrate the company’s 25th anniversary, capping off a nine-month celebration that began in Tokyo and wound its way to Paris and then New York.
The French contemporary label, which is privately owned by Jean Touitou, operates 60 stores worldwide in cities such as Paris, New York, Los Angeles, London, Hong Kong, Berlin and Tokyo. The brand also has 200 wholesale accounts, including Barneys New York, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Net-a-porter and Saks Fifth Avenue. The company exports 70 percent of its merchandise.
Known for its minimalist designs, A.P.C. keeps a low profile, and that’s the way Touitou likes it. Unlike brands that often aspire to get bigger and bigger, often sacrificing quality, Touitou is adamant about controlled growth. He is worried about his home country and now looks to generate more business in the U.S.
“I’m very concerned with France. It’s a huge boat that will hit a huge iceberg. It’s going to collapse like Spain. Even Italy is going to do better,” said Touitou, on a visit to New York. He said French people won’t admit to it. “France will shrink a lot. The state is going to break very soon. I’m very happy America is welcoming and is big and is liking us.”
In addition to the 5,000-square-foot Mercer Street space, A.P.C. has units on West Fourth Street and an A.P.C. Surplus store on Perry Street in New York. The company plans to open a 1,500-square-foot store on Bond Street in March. Touitou is also looking at opening another unit in TriBeCa, as well as the Upper East Side and Brooklyn. A.P.C. has a store in West Hollywood and seeks to open another unit on Melrose Place and in Venice, Calif. It’s also interested in San Francisco.
Last March, Touitou got a financial investment from French investment firm Audacia for a temporary cash injection to fund its expansion. “It was a joke,” he said. “A guy called me because his niece worked for my company. The guy was young and nice, and he’ll stay in for three years.” Touitou said he doesn’t enjoy talking with bankers, so he was happy to get the money from an investor. The investment allowed him to acquire a good location on Rue Royale in Paris so he could open an A.P.C. store between Gucci and Chanel.
“This gave me comfort. I have a huge atelier and you need money to pay for all of it,” said the Tunisia-born executive, who moved to France when he was nine. A.P.C. employs 250 people in France and 50 people in the U.S. He already has stores in London and will be opening a second store in Berlin. He also operates stores in Shanghai, Beijing and five stores in Hong Kong.
In Japan, he sold his company to a firm called Look. “I was owning all of it, and I got tired of it. I tried to have a democratic conversation with them, and they’re not educated to those kinds of conversations,” he said. He said they would agree to buy the line and wouldn’t constructively criticize it, and then they couldn’t sell it properly. Now, A.P.C. designs the line, but Look will tweak it for the Japanese market. The company operates 19 stores in Japan.
Most of A.P.C.’s collection is manufactured in Europe, with fabrics from Italy and England. Fifty percent of A.P.C.’s business is geared toward women, and 50 percent toward men.
Touitou doesn’t believe in social media as a way to advertise. “I think it’s fake. I think it’s going to die soon. I’d rather have classical advertising. We built this brand with limited advertising and limited ambition,” he said. Each year, the company opens about five to seven stores, designed by the architect Laurent Deroo. The company was an early adopter of e-commerce, having launched its site in 1997.
“I’m satisfied with the way it [business] is,” he said. He said he likes restaurants where the chef is cooking and hotels that are family-owned. Once they get too big, they lose their soul. That can be applied to all kinds of businesses, he believes. “I’m not trying to add more zeros to my figures.” A.P.C. generates around $80 million in retail sales.
The company does several collaborations, such as one with Vanessa Seward, former artistic director of Azzaro, for a feminine, dressy line, and one with an A.P.C. codesigner, Louis Wong, for high-end leather jackets called Louis W. It also has a collaboration with Nike for shoes.
Touitou meets many people in the music business because he runs a recording studio out of his Paris design studio. A.P.C. has released more than 25 albums to date, including recordings from Lili Boniche and Bill Laswell to Jean-Baptiste Mondino and the Septeto Nacional from Cuba. A.P.C. also has print T-shirt collaborations with emerging bands, such as Veronica Falls, The Rapture, Paradis and Connan Mockasin.
Asked what he considers his biggest accomplishment of the last 25 years, Touitou said: “I’m proud that nothing I did I need to hide. I didn’t do a license for wallpaper in Japan. I have no licenses.” One category he’d like to pursue is sports performance clothing.
A father of three, Touitou said he’s satisfied with his life and the level of success he’s achieved.
“I have a 45-foot boat [in which] I can go all around the Mediterranean Sea,” he said. “People may call me a minor league player. I have an excellent car, a home in the country. That’s enough.”
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews