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Faconnable Designing Women

NEW YORK — After years of decking out well-heeled men from its Côte d’Azur coterie, Façonnable is taking its women’s apparel up a notch with a designer collection.<br><br>Called Façonnable Platine, French for...

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NEW YORK — After years of decking out well-heeled men from its Côte d’Azur coterie, Façonnable is taking its women’s apparel up a notch with a designer collection.

Called Façonnable Platine, French for “platinum,” the collection will be previewed next month in Paris at the Plaza Athenee ready-to-wear collections. In the U.S., it will bow in June at Nordstrom’s designer departments, as well as at Façonnable boutiques.

Nordstrom launched Façonnable men’s wear in the U.S. in 1989 and women’s sportswear was added in 1995. It then purchased the company for about $170 million in cash and stock in 2000. Façonnable Platine will initially bow in 15 Nordstrom stores. The specialty store is zeroing in on regions with strong designer and established Façonnable businesses.

Sue Patneaude, vice president of designer apparel for Nordstrom, said, “This is a global collection that will be selectively distributed throughout Europe, exclusive to Façonnable boutiques and to Nordstrom in the United States. For the first season, Façonnable Platine will be carried in one store in each of our major markets.”

There are also plans for Façonnable Platine concept shops at some Nordstrom stores in June and at the Façonnable boutique at Rockefeller Center that will open in September.

Designer Karl Flotat will continue to design the line from Nice, France, but Platine’s cashmere, suede, leather and silk outerwear and sportswear will be Italian-made. As the prodigy of Façonnable’s founder, Albert Goldberg, Flotat’s 16-year track record with Façonnable and his grasp of the brand’s history, quality and spirit were a winning point with Nordstrom, Patneaude said.

“The line is definitely European-inspired,” she said. “We love the purity of Karl’s thought process. He uses a lot of customized details like embroidered linings with signature patterns, custom-designed buttons and seaming details.”

The Platine customer is “sophisticated” and “has a real appreciation for couture details, but also has lifestyle needs,” said Patneaude, citing such details as velvet-laced ribbons and topstitched darting.

Faconnable president Mark Brashear said, “This is a collection we believe will appeal to a discerning designer customer who demands both superior quality and a distinct fashion point of view.”

This story first appeared in the February 13, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Flotat’s knitwear, outerwear and feminine blouses are expected to be standouts in the collection, which will be housed in Collectors, Nordstrom’s designer department, Patneaude said. It will be priced competitively with other designer collections, she added.

Suits will retail starting at $1,400, suede coats at $2,000, cashmere coats at $2,200 and knits and blouses at $600. To try to get customers jazzed about the new offerings, Nordstrom will host special events at some of its stores.

Boosted by women’s apparel sales and improved gross margins, Nordstrom reported a 75.6 percent increase in profits to $18.4 million for the third-quarter ended Nov. 2. Sales gained 6.8 percent to $1.32 billion.

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