PARIS — As it prepares for the arrival of new artistic director Geraldo da Conceicao, French fashion house Sonia Rykiel has set in motion a three-pronged strategy for development under new majority owner Fung Brands Ltd.
Chief executive officer Eric Langon, who joined the company in April, said his priorities were to modernize the main Sonia Rykiel collection, reposition the Sonia by Sonia Rykiel contemporary line and grow the share of accessories.
“The Rykiel woman is desirable, intense, playful and intelligent,” he told WWD at the company’s headquarters on Boulevard Saint-Germain, where construction workers could be heard putting the finishing touches on da Conceicao’s studio on the floor above. The designer, who has worked at Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu and Yves Saint Laurent, will show his first collection during Paris Fashion Week in March.
“We want to emphasize the modernity of the Rykiel woman, not only in terms of this typically Parisian chic, but also in terms of values, which are now very modern and international,” Langon said. RELATED STORY: Sonia Rykiel RTW Spring 2013 >>
He noted that da Conceicao, a Canadian national born in Macau, would bring a distinctly cosmopolitan outlook to the main Sonia Rykiel line. Langon has split the creative team, setting up a separate office for the Sonia by Sonia Rykiel line to better keep their identities distinct.
“Sonia by Sonia Rykiel was somewhat cannibalizing the main Sonia Rykiel line,” he noted. “Customers were turning away from the main collection in favor of Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, because Sonia by Sonia Rykiel was seen perhaps as a younger, more accessible and very qualitative expression of the values of Sonia Rykiel.”
Langon said distribution and merchandising of the two collections would be revised to make sure they don’t sit side by side within the same point of sale, though he was reluctant to define separate target groups for the lines, saying a woman could wear both at different times.
Sonia Rykiel’s new product and merchandising director Sophie Templier, formerly at Chloé, is also overseeing efforts to grow the leather goods business, which has lost steam since the success of the rhinestone-studded Domino bag a decade ago.
Langon said it was unlikely the category would ever account for the lion’s share of revenues at Rykiel, as is the case at many luxury brands. “That is not our objective. But since leather goods is a legitimate product category in the Rykiel universe, there is definitely enough room to double or even triple its share of the house’s total revenues,” he said.
Last year, Sonia Rykiel posted sales of about 90 million euros, or $125.5 million at average exchange rates. In February, Fung Brands Ltd. acquired 80 percent of the business, leaving the founding family with a 20 percent stake.
The executive said plans for expansion in the U.S., where the brand is carried in about 20 points of sale, were on hold until it has restructured its offer. Likewise, its e-commerce site has been shut down, pending a relaunch scheduled for November 2013.
Langon has appointed a digital director, noting that Sonia Rykiel is so far absent from social-media sites. “I want to implement a content-oriented digital strategy, because this house is very rich in content. It has a lot of depth, and it’s important we share this history on the Web in a way that gives it a modern spin,” he said.
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
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