LOS ANGELES — Blue Cult will reintroduce itself to the U.S. market for spring — as a moderate brand.
A pioneer in California's premium denim business, Blue Cult is reentering the market two years after its last domestic shipment. Frank Mechaly, who also designs premium brand 575 Denim, has taken the reins and is looking at Blue Cult's past to build its future.
Mechaly has returned to Blue Cult's original fit and elaborate U-shaped back-pocket embroidery for the initial collection that includes 15 women's styles in faded denim, white linen and cream twill. All styles will retail for $89.
"It's hard selling $150 jeans anymore," Mechaly said. "The consumer is looking for a premium product at a lower price."
Mechaly is banking on an updated version of one of the brand's most popular styles, Gwyneth, named in honor of Gwyneth Paltrow. The actress put the brand on the map after being photographed wearing a Blue Cult style in 2000 that featured a form-fitting silhouette, a slightly flared leg and two tiny front pockets. To prevent Gwyneth from looking dated, Mechaly widened the leg opening to 26 inches and added back pockets.
Mechaly understands that the challenges for Blue Cult will be greater than before. The label stopped shipments in the U.S. in spring 2006 because of late deliveries that soured relations with retailers. The brand's European and Japanese distribution has been uninterrupted.
"Blue Cult was a victim of the denim boom," Mechaly said. "I don't think they were on top of the product and they were sloppy — so late [with deliveries]. The only way to build the trust is to ship the right product and on time."
Mechaly's father, David, cofounded Blue Cult with his wife, Caroline Athias, in 1999. The brand quickly expanded to 200 employees and sold in 800 retail doors in the U.S., 800 in Europe, 150 in Japan and 150 in other regions. Annual wholesale volume for Blue Cult eventually reached as high as $60 million. Offshoot brands also emerged, including Blue Cult Knits, Blue 2, Sacred Blue and Elite by Blue Cult. Mechaly designed Sacred Blue until he left to start 575 Denim in 2004.
The premium denim segment has faced significant pressures since Blue Cult exited the U.S., as retailers have opted to focus on a core group of top-performing brands and gradually have shifted their assortments from denim toward dresses and contemporary apparel. Even at 575 Denim, which wholesales from $90 to $120, Mechaly said he will introduce basic styles wholesaling for $69. He also plans to find a licensee to produce Coil, the other moderate line that he designs. Coil's spring collection will be the last one he'll spearhead.
"The price point is going down [in the premium business]," he said.
With the first shipment scheduled for March, Blue Cult's 15 styles include straight-leg jeans punctuated with red and yellow stitching, a boot cut in a black rinse with a four-piece yoke in the back and the Gwyneth in a faded 10-oz. denim.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)