Byline: Janet Ozzard

NEW YORK--Faconnable, a maker of men's luxury sportswear, accessories and casualwear, has launched a designer-level women's line for the first time in its 45-year history.
The company, based in Nice in the south of France, is creating the women's line exclusively for the Nordstrom department store chain. The line is being carried in 30 Nordstrom doors, and has already begun to ship for fall selling.
Fabrics include Italian and English wools; wool and silk blends for suits; nylon, microfiber and waterproof cashmere for outerwear, and cotton, wool, alpaca and cashmere knits.
Faconnable's men's wear is classic in feeling, and the women's line follows that philosophy, said Albert Goldberg, founder of the label.
There are four categories in the women's collection: traditional tailoring, which includes dress shirts and accessories; sportswear; jeanswear, and a sport collection. Retail prices run from $80 for shirts to between $600 and $1,000 for suits.
Styles include classic tailored sportswear, crisp white cotton shirts, trim trousers, slim skirts, denim tops and bottoms, flannel shirts and activewear that includes fleece and cotton knitwear. In Nordstrom stores, the collection will hang near Polo Ralph Lauren's collection line and the newly licensed Greta Garbo collection.
Faconnable's men's wear has been carried at Nordstrom since 1989, said Michele Rutherford, divisional merchandise manager for the retailer's Faconnable division. It is in 50 Nordstrom stores.
Otherwise, the men's wear is sold only through specialty stores. There are 30 in Europe, one here at 689 Fifth Ave. and two in the Far East.
During a visit here last week, Goldberg said, "I have a very important agreement with Nordstrom, and they asked me if I would design a women's line for them. It was a challenge, but I saw in my visits here that the American woman works and has a need for this sort of traditional product. At Faconnable, we are professionals at that sort of thing."
Goldberg said he would wait to see how the line does in the U.S. before trying it out in the European boutiques, even though he said he is asked for women's products there all the time.
"Women in Europe buy and wear the men's clothing, and in our magazine there are photos of women wearing the men's wear," said Goldberg.
Goldberg said he wasn't interested in having other department stores carry the women's line.
The women's line will be designed by Goldberg and his design team, which is based in Nice, and will have "the same material, the same philosophy."
"The only thing that will be different," he said, "is the cut."

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