PARIS — Fast Retailing Co. Ltd.’s Uniqlo is upping the fashion quotient for spring, revealing the product of its first collaborations with Inès de la Fressange and Nigo alongside the presentation of its main spring collections here on Wednesday.
Uniqlo design director Naoki Takizawa was inspired to contact de la Fressange when he saw a photo of the French fashion icon and former model sporting Uniqlo designs, he explained at an exclusive preview of the collections.
The pair met last May and closely collaborated on the collection, much of which has a vintage French feel. “I wanted to make the clothes in her wardrobe,” Takizawa explained, adding that the two got together at de la Fressange’s Parisian home, where she would go and take pieces out of her closet for inspiration.
“It’s amazing the ‘kawaii’ taste that she brings,” he added, using the Japanese word for “cute.”
The collaboration is timely for de la Fressange, who has come back to her namesake brand and is in the process of relaunching it after the label was bought by a consortium led by Calao Finance earlier this year.
“[The Uniqlo collection] is very important because we don’t yet have a licensee to do clothes,” de la Fressange explained. “There will be, but it takes a long time. This is a great way to have an immediate worldwide presence.”
She continued, “Everything can be mixed together. All kinds of women from all countries can wear it.”
When the collection begins hitting Uniqlo stores worldwide next March, new lines of scarves, jewelry, loungewear, glasses and stationery under the core Inès de la Fressange brand will already be available, said Fabrice Boé, chief executive officer of IDLF, the new holding company for the brand.
While prices for the Uniqlo line will be on a par with the retailer’s core collections, Boé is not worried that this will water down the label’s message.
“I think people today understand that there is a difference between a collection that is stocked by a retailer for a certain time and the permanent collection. The products are different, as is their level of sophistication,” he explained.
To the point, part of the conviction behind de la Fressange’s involvement is her belief that being able to mix designer pieces and mass-market designs is what makes fashion tick today.
“It’s all about what we desire and what we want to wear,” she explained.
“In 2014, luxury style and brand distribution can go together,” she added, saying that she herself often shops at Uniqlo and was surprised by the quality of the fabrics used for her namesake line.
“I hope I will get a discount card now with all the work I have done on this,” she exclaimed.
De la Fressange described working with Takizawa, an Issey Miyake alum, as a meeting of minds, as they both initially came from the luxury world.
The Inès de la Fressange Paris Uniqlo collection will be stocked in all Uniqlo stores worldwide, a change from an initial plan to only carry it in larger outlets. Smaller stores will have a selection of the products, while larger sales points will carry the full collection of 70 items.
Uniqlo has also enlisted Nigo, the founder of street label A Bathing Ape and producer of hip hop group Teriyaki Boyz, as the first creative director of its UT line of T-shirts. His first designs for the retailer have a distinct pop culture theme, and include vintage images of classic characters like Snoopy and Gizmo or Coca-Cola logos, for example.
Takizawa is adamant that such collaborations do not signal a change in direction for the retailer, as witnessed by the breadth of its own collection, dubbed LifeWear, to which Uniqlo has added items including smart stretch fabric pants for spring and a wider range of polo shirts in about 300 different designs.
“We pick up some trends and some feelings, but we have to have what people need in their closet from morning to night,” he explained.
@pantone announced their Color of the Year 2018: Ultra Violet. Nearly 20 months after the musician Prince’s death, fashion is having a purple moment. Varying shades of purple appeared on spring or fall runways, from @christopherkane to @calvinklein. @gucci’s Alessandro Michele bathed his fall runway in ultra violet-colored light at one point. Pantone 18-3838 is meant to “push the boundaries of what inspires us to look upward and outward to the future.” #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@badgalriri’s @fentybeauty launch in September was a massive success on social media, powering $72.9 million of earned media value, according to Tribe Dynamics. The brand’s foundation offering sparked conversations about diversity in beauty, launching the growth of emerging influencers and propelling the brand’s support on social media. Today, #fentybeauty won Launch of the Year at the WWD #BeautyIncAwards. (📷: Chema Moya/EPE-EFE)
@marianna_hewitt has become one of the most influential content creators in the beauty space, with almost 800,000 Instagram followers and a newly launched skin care line called @SummerFridays. Today, she was awarded Influencer of the Year at the WWD #BeautyIncAwards. (📸: @sophiachabbott )
As shopping behaviors evolve, the retail experience must follow. Head over to retail experts @colliersinternational’s Knowledge Leader series to read more about the shift in our shopping era. #colliersretail #lovecolliers
@prada opened a pop-up club, called Prada Double Club, in collaboration with German artist Cartsen Höller at @artbasel Miami. Last night, guests – including @youngparis, @ritaora and even Miuccia Prada herself – gathered in a former ice factory where the pop-up is housed for a performance from @wyclefjean. Go to WWD.com for full coverage on all the exhibits, parties and more at #ArtBaselMiami. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
@louboutinworld and @disney are making magic once again, creating a set of shoe designs for the release of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” Louboutin designed a pair of shoes for each of the film’s four female leads: Rey (@daisyridrey), Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo (@lauradern), Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) and Rose Tico (@kellymarietran). The shoes will debut on Saturday at the L.A. premiere of the latest episode. #wwdfashion
Today at the #BeautyIncAwards 2017, WWD will be joined by beauty leaders from around the world as we honor this year's most innovative people, products, brands and places. Follow along here and on Twitter for live coverage from the exclusive event. #wwdsummits (📷: @elizaflorendo)
Exclusive: Beauty superinfluencer @marianna_hewitt is launching her first-ever skin care brand with her business partner @laurengores. Their new line Summer Fridays, which will be sold exclusively at summerfridays.com starting in January, is launching with just one product – a hydrating cream Jet Lag Mask. “We wanted to focus on one product that was amazing,” said Hewitt. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Michelin star-rated chef PJ Calapa marks his first solo endeavor with today’s opening of @scampinyc –– the new Southern Italian restaurant located in Manhattans’ Flatiron District. The upscale yet welcoming environment matches the menu, which includes two types of scampi: traditional Italian langoustines in butter and the Americanized version with shrimp over pasta 🍤 - pictured here. #wwdeye (📷: George Chinsee)