PARIS — Paco Rabanne is ramping up the revival of its fashion business, signing on Indian designer Manish Arora as creative director for women’s wear, WWD has learned.
Arora is slated to show his first collection for the French brand, owned by Puig Beauty and Fashion Group, for the spring 2012 season during Paris Fashion Week this fall, in addition to his signature label.
And that’s not all. Rabanne also intends to invite a rotating cast of collaborators for other fashion products under the Paco Lab banner, starting with British designer Judy Blame. In March, Blame will unveil a collection of jewelry and new versions of the brand’s 1969 chain-mail bag, Rabanne’s first new fashion volley since winding down the ready-to-wear business in 2006.
Nine versions of the iconic style with a toilet-flush-chain handle are arriving at 25 select specialty stores, including 10 doors of Comme des Garçons, which also handled distribution. Prices range from 750 euros, or $1,035 at current exchange, for ones in aluminum, Plexiglas or rubber to 1,650 euros, or $2,280, for styles in steel, natural horn or stingray.
“I think people are looking for brands with great heritage — and stories to tell,” said Vincent Thilloy, vice president in charge of Rabanne’s fragrance, fashion and accessories businesses. “It’s a perfect time to come back.”
It also coincides with an explosive moment for Rabanne’s fragrance business, headlined by the 1 Million men’s scent, its sister fragrance, Lady Million and the Black XS range.
Thilloy — joined for an exclusive interview by Puig chief brand officer José Manuel Albesa and Rabanne’s director of fashion and accessories Vincent Brun — said sales of Rabanne fragrances vaulted 60 percent last year. “It’s a very healthy and promising business and we foresee huge growth for the next three years in Paco Rabanne fragrance,” Albesa said.
Fashion, however, will be the focus in 2011, and Thilloy and Albesa trumpeted parallels between the house founder, who famously launched his Space Age brand in 1966 with a collection titled 12 Experimental and Unwearable Dresses in Contemporary Materials, and Arora, whose kooky and colorful creations are certainly of Rabanne’s otherworldly ilk.
He has shown dresses resembling forbidding armor one season; a colorful merry-go-round the next. Photo prints, 3-D embroideries and unusual materials like foam and vinyl figure in Arora’s daring, sculptural designs, sported by such pop stars as Katy Perry, Rihanna and M.I.A.
Yet, what truly unites the two men is a commitment to craft and innovation.
“It’s very easy to use unorthodox materials, but not to do it with this kind of workmanship,” said Arora, who sells his signature designs online and to about 170 doors worldwide, most of them in India.
The Rabanne executives declined to give sales projections for the rtw launch, but are angling for initial distribution to about 40 to 50 select specialty stores. Retailers carrying the handbags include Barneys New York, Maxfield and Ikram in the U.S.; 10 Corso Como in Milan; Dover Street Market in London and Colette in Paris, which is to showcase them in its windows Feb. 13 to 20.
Thilloy said the house founder is keen to “transmit this brand to a new generation” and capitalize on its lingering resonance — and global notoriety.
“Even in India, we know who Paco Rabanne is,” said Arora, who studied fashion at New Delhi’s National Institute of Fashion Technology and launched his eponymous brand in 1997.
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion