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.
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)