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.”
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Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
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Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
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