Singapore-based brand Raoul is aiming to make international fashion inroads with a capsule collection of knits by up-and-coming American designer Tom Scott.
Dubbed “Capsule of Cool,” Raoul will debut Scott’s 20-piece line alongside the label’s main men’s and women’s ready-to-wear fall 2010 collections at a presentation during New York Fashion Week at Drive-In Studios on Feb. 17. Raoul’s collections will then move on to Paris Fashion Week, during which they will be showcased at the Hotel Costes. Scott, who specializes in architectural shaped knitwear, will also design a follow-up spring 2011 collection for Raoul.
The move is part of a strategy by founders and co-creative directors Douglas and Odile Benjamin to place Raoul on the international fashion map. Last year, Raoul opened a showroom in New York’s Chelsea district.
“The time is right; everyone is looking for new and fresh product,” Benjamin said. “Scott’s innovative designs will complement and fit into Raoul’s collection — the idea is to sell them together and then continue to collaborate with different designers in the future.”
Raoul started as a men’s shirt and tie label seven years ago in Singapore, and since evolved into a full-fledged men’s and women’s fashion and accessory label designed by an in-house creative team, sold in 23 Raoul flagships in southeast Asia and Dubai. Benjamin is looking to expand retail beyond Raoul’s own doors, and last year landed floor space for its women’s handbags in Harrods and Tea Rose in Milan.
“Singapore was the hardest market to break because here Singaporean brands aren’t considered high end. We understand Asia but to get out onto the world stage we are using a Western approach,” Benjamin said.
To help with Raoul’s international rollout, Benjamin tapped Joy Yaffe, a Milan-based fashion industry consultant who worked on the Ruffo Research project, to scout Scott and source other designers for future Raoul capsule collections.
Using cashmere, silk, organic cotton and mohair blends, Scott’s design gave a cool edge to Raoul’s feminine fall collection, said Benjamin. Looks include a jersey turtleneck with ruched sides to retail for $60 and a cashmere coat expected to carry a $700 price tag.
FJ Benjamin, a retail, licensing and distribution partner for 20 luxury fashion and lifestyle brands in Asia and Australia, including Guess, Celine and Banana Republic, owns Raoul.
Listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange in 1996, FJ Benjamin was founded by Benjamin’s father, Franklin, in 1959. FJ Benjamin blamed the macroeconomic crisis for a 12 percent slide in consolidated revenue to $300 million and a net loss of $2.7 million, compared with a profit of $14.8 million the year before.
Raoul’s strategy for the year also includes revamping current store images as well as opening stores in Melbourne, Australia, scheduled for late January, and another flagship in Singapore’s Sands Casino.
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