The tattoos on each of Sean Barron’s inner forearms read “Patience” and “Presence” — two words to set the tone of his newest venture, a young designer collection he calls Barron Duquette.
This story first appeared in the May 6, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“I’m used to doing things quickly — launching, making a lot of money, getting into a lot of stores,” he said. “It’s not about that with this line. I really want to take my time and watch it grow naturally.”
As founder, creative director and chief executive officer of Barron Duquette, he begins the venture after considerable experience in the apparel industry. In 1991, he and designer Katayone Adeli started contemporary sportswear line Parallel. In 1997, after reaching the $25 million mark with the brand, he and Adeli sold their interests in Parallel to the BCBG Max Azria Group and quickly established a new label, Katayone Adeli. Barron sold his stake in the Adeli brand in 2000 in order to launch the Los Angeles-based contemporary brand Joie with designer Joie Rucker. In 2006, that brand reached $35 million in sales and in 2007, Barron sold his interest in that firm in order to take some time off.
“I really wasn’t planning to open a new company, but when I moved to Paris last year, I saw how different women dressed there, and it inspired me,” he said in an interview in his newly designed studio loft at 80 Greene Street in downtown Manhattan. “Women in America tend to dress very girly, and in Europe they are sophisticated, sexy and modern. I wanted to bring that sensibility here.”
And so he did. His first collection features cashmere knit sweaters and dresses, chunky knit sweater coats, light- and heavy-weight silk jersey dresses and paper-thin leather jackets. Each piece, he said, has that element of sexy — such as in the subtle draping in a dress or crystal-embellished neckline — but with a level of sophistication. The line wholesales from $200 to $900 and has already been picked up by Scoop, Fred Segal and Shopbop.com. The line will only be in about 40 doors for fall, he said. Industry sources said that Barron Duquette should do about $2 million in the first year at wholesale.
“I’m being very selective about the stores I want for this line,” he said. “I’m not going to sell everyone. It’s more important to me that the stores I do sell buy heavily.”
All sales appointments are being held at Barron’s loft on Greene Street. He designed the space — with recovered vintage sofas, a new stainless steel kitchen, black walls and an oversize black crystal chandelier — in order to create a comfortable space for retailers to place orders and customers to shop the line.
“I want women to come into a space where they feel comfortable, where they want to stay,” he said. “My mission here is to make women feel glamorous, but not over-the-top.”