PARIS — Cacharel, the French brand known for its spirited contemporary sportswear, has opened a new men’s shop here that house founder Jean Bousquet said is emblematic of his desire to rev up that segment of his business.
“Men’s has been asleep at Cacharel,” said Bousquet as he surveyed the store here at 21 Rue d’Uzes, on the Right Bank. “This store is part of our will to bring it back to life in a strong way.”
Earlier this fall, Bousquet inked a licensing deal with B2xX, the Jersey City trading company, to exclusively distribute its men’s, women’s and children’s apparel and accessories in the United States and Canada. He said men’s would be a strong priority in the American market, but not with stand-alone stores.
“We want to build all our business in the U.S., particularly the men’s,” said Bousquet. “We think there’s great potential for the brand in the U.S.”
In recent years, Cacharel, which has revenues of around $50 million, has had mixed success in energizing its youthful and colorful take on fashion. Earlier this year, for example, the house parted ways with its artistic directors of seven years, Suzanne Clements and Inacio Ribeiro, replacing them with 33-year-old Esther Angula. But Angula’s stint was short-lived. This month Cacharel hired Mark Eley and Wakako Kishimoto, best known for their print design and fabric development, as its new artistic directors.
Although Clements and Ribeiro’s first collections—which were essentially for women, though they also cast an eye on men’s—were warmly received, the house struggled with pricing and positioning, especially in overseas markets. Meanwhile, it restructured and tried to liven up its women’s business by opening two new stores here.
The new men’s store underscores Bousquet’s commitment to trying to grow the house, which he founded in 1962. The 2,000-square-foot, loft-like space is located on a street, not far from the Paris Bourse and the Drouot auction house, that has attracted new retail attention. “It’s kind of like Soho here,” said Bousquet. “It’s going to be the next hot location.”
Last year, men’s designer Stephane Plassier opened a store called Gus on the street, merchandised with fashion, motorcycles and books. Plassier consulted on the Cacharel store and also designed some pieces for the fall/winter ’08 collection.
Among Plassier’s contributions was the idea of making the store “easy and livable.” There will be, for instance, an espresso machine, Internet access and comfortable sofas. Artwork by Jean-Michel Alberola decorates the space. Plassier also insisted on the store using reusable, eco-friendly packaging.
Bousquet has named the store La Chemiserie or “shirt store,” in a nod to the first boutiques he opened in the 1960s that were popular in France for their inexpensive liberty-print shirts. But the new store also sells suits, ties and knitwear, all reasonably priced. Suits, for instance, sell for around 300 euros; shirts around 50 euros and sweaters around 60 euros.
“We wanted good quality at a good price,” said Bousquet. “We wanted the store to be easy and comfortable to make the shopping experience attractive.”
Bousquet said the store should do about 1 million euros in sales in its first year. “It’s a pilot,” he said. “This store is to get the image and merchandising right.”
Bousquet said his ambition is to open another 20 La Chemiserie stores in France in the upcoming years. “I’d like to have three to four in Paris alone,” he said.
“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