In the Eighties and Nineties, Caché Inc. was more about glitz than glamour, known for body-clinging dresses with keyhole openings and halter gowns designed for slinking into a room full of people and getting noticed.
NEW YORK — In the Eighties and Nineties, Caché Inc. was more about glitz than glamour, known for body-clinging dresses with keyhole openings and halter gowns designed for slinking into a room full of people and getting noticed.
Now that such flashy looks are mainly reserved for awards shows, Caché is toning down its act, developing its sportswear collection and adding classifications such as denim, T-shirts and wovens. And the company has reduced its eveningwear inventory.
"Caché built a brand niche known for special-occasion dressing," said Brian Woolf, chief executive officer. "For many years, we've been more than that. Our point of view has evolved to appeal to a modern, sophisticated customer. We drastically repositioned the company and our results have dramatically improved."
In the third quarter ended Oct. 1, Caché's sales rose 15.8 percent to $57.3 million and same-store sales increased 8 percent. Sales for the 39 weeks ending Oct. 1 jumped 10.9 percent to $187 million. For fiscal 2005, the company estimates sales of $270 million to $275 million. The company is overhauling retail stores, opening new units and has launched an ad campaign.
The change in direction was required because of the shift to a more casual lifestyle in most of the U.S., Woolf said. While "Desperate Housewives" types living in flashier zip codes may still pull out all the stops, most women want easy wardrobes built around jeans, skirts and tops.
"Our customers were starved for a fashion change," Woolf said.
But that doesn't mean the clothes should be boring. "There has to be detail on the garments," he said. "Lurex is important and so is embroidery and beading on jeans."
Shades such as chartreuse, saffron and turquoise are not unusual at Caché.
"Our girls aren't afraid of color," said Lisa A. Decker, vice president of marketing and visual merchandising. "Our customers take care of themselves. Overall, the clothing is designed to fit a woman. It's a generous cut. We go to size 14. Our sales associates are there to tell them the good, the bad and the ugly."
So far, Wall Street likes what it sees."The strategy is a great idea and I think it's been working," said Howard Tubin, a retail analyst at Cathay Financial. "They're doing casual fashion apparel for the misses' customer, who wants younger-looking, trendier merchandise but can't go to Bebe because it won't fit her."
Caché's business has shifted dramatically. Eveningwear accounts for just 18 to 20 percent of sales, while casual sportswear is 70 percent and accessories, 10 percent.
If Caché's customer wants to relax her dress code a bit, she hasn't lost sight of fashion. "The teen business has been driving fashion over the last few years," Woolf said. "Our consumer wants what the teens are wearing, but interpreted differently. Our customer base reads fashion magazines."
The offering for spring — peasant blouses, wrap sweaters, boleros, lace tops, Lurex turtlenecks, crocheted halters and multitiered skirts — touches on all the trends. Some of the more refined garments include black silk pants with cargo pockets and sculptured knit sweaters in solid colors. Dresses run the gamut from tie-neck halters to long satin gowns with ruched bodices. A short bubble dress is the new silhouette, while a long black halter dress with a rhinestone buckle and a drop-dead blue slinky gown are perennial favorites.
Like the apparel, Caché stores have a new look. "The old stores had dressing rooms in the center of the store, heavy wood molding, dress departments with ornate chandeliers and thick carpeting," Woolf said. "Now they're very modern and flexible."
By the end of the year, 60 percent of the stores will be renovated, he said.
Caché is using a new ad campaign to get the word out about its repositioning. "We're trying to change brand perception and grow brand awareness," said Deirdre McMennamin, a partner at G2, part of the Grey Global Group. "There were a lot of things about the brand that were not broken. We wanted to make sure we didn't alienate the existing customer."
The ad agency decided not to tamper with the logo, which has a distinctive lowercase typeface with an accent over the e. "There's a lot of equity in it," McMennamin said. "We took the accent mark and made it a graphic." Now a model is seen through an enlarged shaded accent. The tag line is "Accent on you."The campaign features a mix of merchandise that shows the range and scope of the brand. In addition to ads in national and regional publications, there's a direct mail component. Caché also plans to launch a loyalty effort. Woolf said about 3 percent of sales have been earmarked for advertising.
Neely Tamminga, a retail analyst at Piper Jaffrey, said Caché, which operates 263 stores, could ultimately grow to 500 units.
The company plans to open 30 to 35 stores this year. Woolf said he's looking for a flagship here near Bloomingdale's on Lexington Avenue and 59th Street.
"A key part to this whole story," said Jeff Van Sinderen, a retail analyst at B. Riley, "is that they've been sourcing domestically primarily. You'll start to see them sourcing more overseas, especially in Asia. There's an opportunity for them to directly pick up incremental margin dollars."
Other growth areas include Caché accessories, which until now has revolved around eveningwear. There's also Lilly Rubin, an eveningwear business Caché bought out of bankruptcy in 1988. It is being repositioned. Woolf said Rubin, which has 38 stores, could grow to 100 units.
"There's always room for more acquisitions," he added.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty