After taking a break from fashion, Victor Alfaro is back — and this time, he's going exclusive with The Bon-Ton Stores Inc.
Today, Bon-Ton will unveil a new licensing and design deal with the designer, confirming a WWD report on March 4. The agreement will result in the Victor by Victor Alfaro lifestyle brand, which is set to launch exclusively at Bon-Ton stores this September.
For Bon-Ton, which, like many other department stores has faced a rocky road over the past 12 months, this will be one of the biggest launches in its history and could give it a much-needed lift. For the quarter ended Feb. 2, Bon-Ton stores delivered a 15 percent net income decline to $75.2 million from $88.4 million a year ago, on sales that dropped 8.9 percent to $1.14 billion.
Victor by Victor Alfaro represents the retailer's first private label collection to take a lifestyle approach with a designer known from the high fashion arena. The collection will include women's, petites and misses' apparel, as well as handbags, shoes, scarves and jewelry, with plans to eventually expand into men's wear and the home arena.
Alfaro's deal is an addition to the growing trend of department stores of all tiers going after exclusive designer brands to offer their customers a point of differentiation. Macy's Inc., for instance, exclusively sells T Tahari, and, beginning this fall, Tommy Hilfiger; Kohl's offers Vera Wang's Simply Vera Vera Wang line, Dana Buchman (beginning spring 2009) and Polo Ralph Lauren's Chaps, and J.C. Penney Co. Inc. just introduced American Living, produced by Polo Ralph Lauren's Global Brand Concepts division, and sells Liz & Co. and Nicole by Nicole Miller exclusively. Norma Kamali, meanwhile, is developing an exclusive line for Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Alfaro admitted he wasn't sure if he'd ever get back into fashion design, but after several years felt the time was right again — especially with a partner, which would allow him to focus on design and largely free him from such responsibilities as manufacturing, distribution and marketing.
ACI Licensing LLC structured the deal on behalf of Alfaro.
"I have been looking for an opportunity to do a branded line for a long time," Alfaro said. "My licensing agent then told me about Bon-Ton. For me, it was a good chance to get back into fashion."Alfaro became a well-known name with his own line in the mid-Nineties, but closed it down in 2002. He also has designed for Tse, and was at one point creative director for Wet Seal. More recently, he has served as a consultant and worked on such lines as Tamsen and a capsule collection of eveningwear-inspired looks exclusive to Ron Herman/Fred Segal.
Alfaro is the latest of his generation's crop of designers to resurface in more mainstream gigs, joining Todd Oldham, who became creative director of Old Navy last September, and Isaac Mizrahi, who joined Liz Claiborne as creative director in January.
Victor by Victor Alfaro will be the designer's sole apparel focus, though he will continue to work on Vistaartanddesign.com, the Web site portal for art galleries, furniture and auction houses he launched last December.
"This is not a secondary line," he said. "This gets the best of me."
The line will be introduced in 153 doors this September, with plans to add it to all the company's 280 stores by spring 2009. It will launch with a complete marketing strategy including fashion shows, personal appearances by the designer, direct mailers and TV commercials.
"Victor will be important in all our businesses," said Steve Villa, Bon-Ton's senior vice president, private brands. "As we look ahead, we look forward to expanding it into home and men's."
Villa said Bon-Ton was looking for a designer who could bring a clean, modern viewpoint to the stores. Over the past two years, Bon-Ton has added private label brands Kenneth Roberts for dress shirts and KN Karen Neuburger in home. Villa noted that Bon-Ton executives anticipate the Victor by Victor Alfaro line will bring in a new customer, while pleasing the store chain's existing shoppers.
"This allows us to continue to build on our unique and differentiated product assortment," he said. "If the customer is looking for newness and fashion, she is also looking for something unique. Victor brings us a wealth of design information, from fit to the construction of pieces."
Retail prices range from $59 to $288 for apparel, $79 to $199 for footwear, $110 to $175 for handbags and $16 to $90 for jewelry.The first season will feature some 150 pieces, including a metallic anorak, a lantern-sleeve tweed jacket and pencil skirt and a chunky knit long wool cardigan. Villa added there are currently no plans to add any other exclusive designer lines.
The line will be sold at all Bon-Ton stores nameplates, which include Bergner's, Boston Store, Carson Pirie Scott, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's, Younkers and Parisian. There will be freestanding in-store environments for the apparel, which will be located near such lines as Lauren by Ralph Lauren and Jones Signature. The accessories classifications, meanwhile, will be sold in their corresponding departments.
Villa declined to give sales projections, but said that the line "will be a substantial focus for our stores."
As for Alfaro, who recently moved back to Brooklyn from Los Angeles, he is elated to return to fashion. "I feel so comfortable because I am loving it again," he said. "I am having fun."
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye