PARIS — Some of couture’s smaller names have recently racked up an impressive array of red-carpet credits, yielding a big windfall in publicity.
Still, dressing a high-profile client can have even a bigger impact on the bottom line, according to some couturiers.
Stéphane Rolland, for example, who counts Rihanna, Cheryl Cole and Beyoncé among famous fans, said dressing Jordan’s Queen Rania can have a bigger impact on sales, especially for Middle Eastern clients.
The designer, who employs around 30 people and in 2009 generated sales of around 5 million euros, or $3.6 million at average exchange rates, plans to add a couture bag line and ready-to-wear to grow the business.
According to red-carpet veteran Elie Saab, it’s only for rare, “big bang” events — such as Halle Berry’s historic Oscar win in 2002 wearing Elie Saab — that a direct sales impact can be felt.
Widening his brand’s horizons, Saab, who dressed 45 celebrities in the first half and generated more than 450 press pages, plans to beef up his product offerings, such as perfume, eyewear and accessories, and this fall will launch an advertising campaign for his rtw line, geared mainly toward France.
“Advertising communicates a strong vision of the house. It’s important for asserting one’s DNA, whereas when a star wears a piece it becomes their interpretation,” said Alexandre Vauthier who, since joining the high-fashion fray two years ago, has dressed Roisin Murphy, Melanie Laurent and “Millennium’s” Noomi Rapace; designed costumes for Rihanna’s current tour (including a black gown with blood-drop LED red lights), and contributed to a book about the pop star, due out this fall. But while such starry commissions have helped multiply contacts, sales remain “calm,” Vauthier conceded.
By contrast, Georges Chakra, who this year has dressed Jennifer Lopez, Katy Perry and Mariah Carey, said he still receives requests for a short white crystal-embellished frock worn by Carrie Underwood in 2007 to the American Music Awards. Rising demand from American clients led to the launch of Chakra’s rtw collection two years ago, which he presents in New York.
Alexis Mabille, who has dressed the likes of Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Zoe Kravitz and Dita Von Teese, argued that many couture clients disregard what celebrities are wearing and instead seek out never-before-seen looks and small labels.Keen to cultivate an intimate relationship with such clients, the designer this season will present his first couture-focused collection, with fewer more elaborate pieces.
“These are women who constantly travel, attending functions and galas and when they see a label they’ve not heard of, they immediately want to go and check it out for themselves,” said Mabille, who is developing aperfume with Six Scents Parfums for October. “All they care about is having a unique piece that’s made just for them.”
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye