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Byline: Dianne M. Pogoda / Janet Ozzard / Alexandra Bellak / Karen Robinovitz / Patricia Reynoso

EUROPE'S NEW FRONT
NEW YORK--Every season, it seems more Europeans plant their stakes in American soil.
This season, Gianfranco Ferre and Yohji Yamamoto join Gianni Versace Wolfgang Joop, Prada and other Europeans who find it beneficial to show here.
While the designers claim New York now equals Milan and Paris as an international fashion city, for some, it's simply a matter of getting greater exposure to the lucrative and relatively untapped U.S. consumer market--particularly for secondary lines.
Gianfranco Ferre, who is introducing his Gieffeffe line here, said he chose New York because he wants to "establish a strong, incisive, well-defined presence on the U.S. market." The designer said he wanted to distinguish Gieffeffe as much as possible from his other ready-to-wear lines, which are presented in Milan.
Gieffeffe has everything from suits to parkas and is being promoted mainly as a casual concept--which fits the increasingly casual lifestyle of American women.
"We wanted an international opening," said Sergio Garretti, president of Marzotto USA, the U.S. arm of the Italian manufacturing giant that is making the line. "We can get great exposure here. Fashion is a global village now. Maybe one day, we'll show in Asia."
Yamamoto is returning to New York after an absence of more than 10 years. He showed here twice in the early Eighties.
"We're here to help develop the American market," a spokeswoman explained, noting Yamamoto counts Barneys New York and Bergdorf Goodman among his few U.S. clients. "Our show will demonstrate to our current customers that we are here to help them."
Although Yamamoto is staging virtually the same show on March 27 that he did earlier in the month in Paris, the move is seen as preparation for an introduction of the designer's secondary line, Y's.
Miuccia Prada, whose Miu Miu line will show for the fourth season here, briefly considered bucking the secondary line trend. As reported, Prada and her husband, Patrizio Bertelli, debated secretly swapping the signature and secondary line show, to keep the fashion flock on its toes.
"Everybody seems to be taking their second lines to New York, so Bertelli said, 'Why don't we go there with our first line?"' a Prada spokeswoman said. The idea was scrapped, because it would be too difficult to do at the last moment.

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