NEW YORK — Iro, a French brand with a presence in high-end specialty stores, last week unveiled its first U.S. outpost, a 2,000-square-foot flagship at 450 Broome Street and the corner of Mercer Street. It is expected to do $3 million in annual sales.
“America is a big story for us,” said Laurent Bitton, who founded the label with his brother Arik. “By 2015 we hope to reach 20 stores.”
Iro plans to open stores in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Chicago, Miami and Boston. Bitton said the company has found a site in Los Angeles, but declined to divulge the location. Additional sites being sought in New York include Madison Avenue, the West Village and the World Trade Center area.
Iro, which opens seven or eight stores annually in Europe, operates four units in Paris and is sold in shops-in-shop at Le Bon Marché and Printemps. Additional stores are bowing on the Rue Royale in Paris and in Marseille, France, and Beirut.
There have been reports that investors such as Guess’ Marciano brothers are circling Iro. “You don’t need a huge corporate [entity] to push you to get numbers,” Bitton said. “Six years after launching, we’re opening a huge store in SoHo. In 2015 that’s something that might be official. I’m happy that [Iro] is so interesting that it can attract huge companies like Guess. We’ve also been talking to Andrew Rosen [founder and chief executive officer of Theory] for six months, and nothing has been done. Huge international financial groups” are also knocking on Iro’s door, Bitton said.
Iro mixes luxury fabrics — the company uses 180 different fabrics every season— with inspiration from streetwear. The collection also features leather and nubby knits. “We merchandise by outfit, color and texture,” said Bitton, adding that Iro has more than 200 stockkeeping units. “Shapes repeat themselves in different fabrics to create different price points.” For example, the Jack jacket is an oversize linen jacket with leather yoke and a belt. The Veste Devin, in the same linen fabric, has long leather sleeves and three-edge leather piping. A perforated leather jacket in black or white is $1,396; a silk crepe dress is $506, and a sweater with detailing is $270.
The flagship was built using all of Iro’s hallmark materials: concrete, metal duct work, and exposed ceilings and columns. Racks are positioned asymmetrically with track lights following the merchandise.
Iro will launch e-commerce in the U.S. in June, Bitton said, adding, “E-commerce is going to be a big point for us. The e-shop has to be the biggest store.”
“We’re investing in advertising and public relations, which will help push the wholesale,” Bitton explained. There’s also a catalogue-magazine featuring location photo shoots and inspirational blurbs. Iro’s ads show models posing against raw backgrounds such as walls with peeling paint or in black-and-white shots that have a rock ’n’ roll edge. The company is moving its New York showroom to the second floor of 450 Broome Street.
Iro, which introduced men’s wear last year, is expanding its denim offering for men and women. “Denim is a huge category for us,” Bitton said. “Next year, we’re introducing Iro denim made in Italy with different washes and printed denim.”
Besides Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Net-a-porter and Intermix, Iro sells to Barneys New York, which is opening six more doors to bring the total to 12 and will increase orders by 40 percent. “We were at the trade shows building Iro from zero to what it is today,” Bitton said. “Fashion is becoming global.”
“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