PARIS — Yohji Yamamoto, who does Y-3 sportswear in collaboration with Adidas, has bagged another partnership — with Italian luggage specialist Mandarina Duck.
The cobranded bags, travel cases and accessories, under the Y's Mandarina moniker, will make their debut for spring 2007 in showrooms in Milan, Paris, Antwerp, New York and Tokyo. Men's products are being readied for the end of June; luggage and business lines, the end of July, and women's styles, for early September.
Keizo Tamoto, Yamamoto's chief executive officer, said the collections will be jointly designed by Mandarina and Yamamoto, who often depicts travel themes in his collections and favors such practicalities as roomy pockets.
"It will be designed with Yohji's DNA," Tamoto said.
Yamamoto seized on the category due to the global explosion in travel. "This category, we think, will become more and more important," Tamoto said.
Prices are still being finalized, but will be positioned roughly 30 to 50 percent higher than Mandarina Duck products, said Sergio Rao, Mandarina's group vice president. At present, Mandarina Duck luggage trollies retail in the 220 to 280 euro, or $282 to $358 at current exchange, range.
"This is the very first collaboration we have in our 29 years of business," Rao noted. "It is a strategic milestone."
The cobranded line is expected to generate annual sales of 20 million euros, or $25.6 million, by the third year of the partnership. A select distribution plan includes specialty and department stores as well as certain freestanding Y's and Mandarina Duck stores, of which there are 95 worldwide.
Y's, Yamamoto's main sportswear line, has been a strategic focus for Tamoto, who is spearheading a product-led turnaround for the firm. He said Y's sales jumped 40 percent last year.
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