J.C. Penney Co. Inc.’s deal with Joe Fresh materialized fast, keeping pace with Penney’s rapid reinvention.
“Ron and I touched base about four months ago, he reached out to me and I told him to visit our flagship in New York,” on Fifth Avenue, Joseph Mimran, the founder of the Toronto-based Joe Fresh brand, said, recalling his first conversation with Penney’s chairman and chief executive officer Ron Johnson. “He shared with me his vision and the repositioning and transformation. For us, it looked like a great opportunity to get a very large footprint in the U.S. very quickly and to do it with someone who is visionary.” RELATED STORY: J.C. Penney Unveils Mock-up of New Look >>
The two worked out a four-year agreement whereby Joe Fresh designs the shops and supplies the merchandise, which is manufactured by Joe Fresh. The plan is to open Joe Fresh shops in 683 Penney doors, each from 1,000 to 2,500 square feet. Mimran said he will still proceed with rolling out freestanding locations around the U.S. There are currently just six. The deal is reminiscent of Topshop’s decision to open inside Nordstrom stores, unveiled earlier this month, but that’s a much slower rollout, with Nordstrom planning to open 14 Topshop shops-in-store at the outset.
“It’s going to be exciting. It’s bold. It’s aggressive,” said Mimran of Penney’s “store of the future” remodel.
“I buy into the vision — the wider aisles, the self checkout, the cafe, the juice bar, the seating arrangements, the room being offered to the brands and the fact that each brand can have its own voice. It feels right,” he added. “We designed it. I think it’s really important that the brands that populate the store feel like true brands and feel genuine.…There is a long road ahead in terms of getting the productivity up, but we are not going into Penney’s on the basis of today’s performance. We are going in on the basis of tomorrow. There will be enough great brands that will lift the sales overall.”
Mimran is accustomed to operating Joe Fresh within other stores: it is the in-house apparel brand of the Canadian supermarket chain Loblaws, which is owned by the Weston family. The Westons also own Selfridges in London, which is one of the stores that has inspired Johnson’s reinvention of Penney’s.
“It’s Joe’s fixturing, Joe’s price signs. It looks just like Joe Fresh,” said Johnson, standing next to the Joe Fresh shop at the mock-up. “It’s a pure, perfectly branded environment. Joe Fresh is Canada’s number-one brand. It’s affordable fashion for everyone.”
“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