PARIS — Givenchy unveils the final piece of its rejuvenation puzzle on Wednesday: a gallerylike Paris boutique featuring a series of black-box display suites and a long, gleaming gold ingot for the cash wrap.
The new 3,750-square-foot flagship on the Faubourg Saint-Honoré, which opens to the public Friday, is a dramatic statement for a French house emboldened by recent success, including a return to profitability in 2007 fueled by sales momentum on multiple fronts, particularly women's fashions by Riccardo Tisci, who shows his fall collection Wednesday night.
"Our strategy now is very clear and it's working well," said Marco Gobbetti, chairman and chief executive of Givenchy, part of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. "The company is now looking at a phase of faster growth."
Like-for-like sales last year advanced 25 percent — and doubled in the U.S. — as Tisci's modern, edgy approach to the storied French brand gained popularity. Looking ahead, Givenchy plans a measured retail rollout and spies expansion potential across all product categories and geographic regions.
Gobbetti confirmed that Givenchy recently renewed Tisci's contract, lending some continuity to a brand that has seen a revolving door of designers, and a hodgepodge of styles, since the 1995 retirement of founder Hubert de Givenchy.
"I think Riccardo found his own way to merge the strong elements of the DNA of the brand with his own personality and vision of a woman," Gobbetti said in an interview at Givenchy's sun-drenched headquarters here. "The collections have pretty much found their positioning, structure and objectives."
Aristocracy, romance, irony and "chic elegance" are all part of the characteristics of Givenchy and "Riccardo was clearly instrumental in bringing modernity," Gobbetti said. "This is a real strength because we're working with the codes of the brand. It's regenerating from within."
Gobbetti credited strong press support for helping fuel the business, with women's wear now growing at 40 to 50 percent a season. Reviews for Tisci's summer couture collection, inspired by Degas' ballerinas, were the most encouraging yet and sales "started very strongly the day after the show," he noted.
Market sources estimate Givenchy generates annual revenues of about 80 million euros, or $118.6 million at current exchange, while the new store should pull in an estimated 6 million euros, or $8.9 million.
Gobbetti described a process of "restudying and reinventing the company" since he took the helm in 2004 after a long career at Moschino. This included a fresh start in the U.S. market, building from "almost nothing" to 6 percent of total turnover today, Gobbetti said. Givenchy closed its Madison Avenue flagship earlier this year and is concentrating on key wholesale clients, including Barneys New York and Saks Fifth Avenue, plus independents like Maxfield, Blake and Ikram.
And despite a slowing economy in America, "I expect we will do between 50 and 60 percent growth" in that market, Gobbetti said. "I'm not discounting the economic climate at all. I think we have to be extremely careful this year."
Other regions are equally dynamic for the brand, including China, the Middle East and all of Europe. In terms of product categories, all are on a growth track, including men's wear. After parting ways with its former men's designer, Ozwald Boateng, last year and mothballing a second line, Givenchy has pursued a new men's positioning with an in-house design team. "It's more contemporary and in line with the overall DNA of the brand," Gobbetti said. "We're restarting the men's distribution in Saks in seven locations."
The Paris flagship, with 45 feet of frontage between Hermès and Boucheron, showcases the brand's new spirit with a full selection of products, excepting beauty, in an atmosphere that balances spaciousness with privacy. The design concept, by Tisci and architect Jamie Fobert, is modern and minimal, but with rich, classic details inspired by Givenchy's 18th-century headquarters on the George V.
The black boxes — which display ready-to-wear inside — have lacquered, charred oak on the outside and elaborate moldings, albeit inverted, on the inside, along with parquet floors in various shades and variations. The effect is of discovering several different boutiques within one store: the oak-paneled VIP room evoking an English library. Another box lined in black leather expresses Tisci's darker side.
Handbags and accessories are displayed on a long counter lining the narrow and deep store, with rtw displays on mannequins suspended from the ceiling.
Small leather goods, eyewear and other accessories are housed in drawers. Footwear is showcased at the back, with Louis XV chairs reconfigured in a quirky, Goth-inspired way by Tisci.Accessories account for roughly 45 percent of the Givenchy business; men's wear 35 percent, and women's wear 20 percent. Gobbetti said the fast-growing women's business would eventually be balanced with men's.
Classic leather goods have long been the lifeblood of Givenchy, but the company recently emphasized fashions, finding particular success with its Nightingale and Overnight handbags. Gobbetti is hoping the Postino, hitting stores for spring, will be the brand's next winning style.
Gobbetti said the Paris unit represents a "new model" for Givenchy's retail arm that will be replicated in forthcoming units. He said the format is likely to attract interest from franchise partners, but that retail expansion would be "controlled" and that he would still privilege the company's wholesale clients. At present, Givenchy has two directly operated stores in France, seven in China and one in Japan. Coming this year, in addition to the Faubourg, are three more stores in China, plus one in Hong Kong and another in Macau, for a total of 16 locations.
Gobbetti also projects franchised stores to number more than 40 by yearend after adding locations in China, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Any store opening after July will reflect the new design concept, he noted.
Although the Paris flagship is the brand's main event in 2008, the year will also see Givenchy reenter the watch business with Italian partner Global Watch Industries, with the first collection unveiling at the Basel watch fair in April at an average retail price of 800 to 900 euros, or $1,185 to $1,334 at current exchange.
On the marketing front, Givenchy will unveil a new Web site soon, but without an e-commerce component.
Gobbetti said he expects growth this year to match last year's and that investments would not compromise profitability. But there is work to do on the product side, ultimately expanding categories to offer a complete wardrobe.
"Givenchy is one of the four brands that built French fashion," he said. "It went through its ups and downs. We want to bring it back very quickly to where it belongs."
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)