By  on March 25, 2010

PARIS — Passionata, the younger, more affordable sister of Chantelle that was launched in the late Eighties, is eyeing the American market.

Since last September, Passionata has quietly been testing the market via multibrand distributor Intimacy, said Adeline Desjonquères, international brand director for the French lingerie brands.

“So far, we’re satisfied, but we haven’t yet rolled it out to all of the test sites,” she said. “The difference between the States and Europe lies in the competition aspect. In the U.S. [chains] like Victoria’s Secret own a big part of the market, while in Europe it’s more fragmented; there’s a broader panorama of brands.”

Desjonquères declined to give figures for the Passionata and Chantelle brands, which belong to family-owned firm Groupe Chantelle. The group also owns the Darjeeling lingerie label and multibrand innerwear chain Orcanta Lingerie.

To be sure, Passionata’s recently appointed campaign model, Bar Refaeli, should resonate with the American public. The model made a live appearance at the presentation of Passionata’s fall-winter line at Paris’ Espace Cambon on Wednesday night.

“I was made to feel like Brigitte Bardot for the day,” said Refaeli of the making of the fall campaign, which was shot by Greg Kadel. Additions to the Passionata range include a Jolie Parisienne line, which has straps inspired by the structure of the Eiffel Tower, and new colorways for its best-selling Passio Chérie Darling line, such as sapphire blue and scarlet.

The Chantelle brand is distributed in 8,000 doors across 100 countries, while Passionata is distributed in 6,000 doors across 70 countries.

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