PARIS — Coqueline Courrèges said Friday she’s fed up with multibrand stores and is pulling her collection out of all of them.
Effective next spring, the line will be concentrated in her flagship here. The collection is carried at such stores as Neiman Marcus, Jeffrey, Barneys New York and Bergdorf Goodman.
"To do a business in that manner is not to do a business," she said tersely, declining to elaborate. However, she suggested the move would improve her brand’s image and bring greater customer satisfaction.
Asked whether she would consider opening more company-owned boutiques, Courrèges said "Yes," but gave no time frame.
Retailers, informed by letter or telephone, are perplexed, saying the brand, relaunched about three years ago, was generating good business.
"It’s disappointing because there is a customer," said Robert Burke, vice president and senior fashion director at Bergdorf’s, which has had "nice success" with its 500-square-foot Courrèges shop on the second floor. "It was fun for [customers] to have a piece of fashion history."
"There was a lot of untapped potential there, for really doing something with the brand," agreed Jeffrey Kalinsky, who operates multibrand shops in Atlanta and New York.
"It looks great on all ages, so it’s disappointing," added Ginny Hershey, divisional merchandise manager for couture at Neiman Marcus. "The name, the logo and everything else is so well known. The customers thought it was a fun collection."
Sources said Courrèges did $10 million to $15 million at wholesale distributing the collection to multibrand stores. Courrèges, the wife of fabled Sixties couturier André Courrèges, declined to comment on any figures.
An energetic, impulsive woman, Courrèges and her husband once cancelled a fashion show at the last minute in 1995, fearing others would copy their designs. In recent years, she has staged unusual "happenings" to show her designs. She once put a boiling pot of tar in her boutique and cast a jacket in resin.
Yet during the height of the acquisitions frenzy in the late Nineties, many suitors came knocking, ranging from LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton to Gucci Group, sources said. However, the asking price, north of $150 million, and terms of the sale were said to be off-putting.On Friday, Courrèges said she plans to focus her energies on couture and new design projects like automobiles.
Courrèges was recently on the verge of signing a fragrance license with beauty giant Wella AG before talks broke down, sources said. The Courrèges brand has four women’s fragrances.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast