By  on December 20, 2000

PARIS -- Next year is shaping up to be a big one for the house of John Galliano.

WWD has learned that the designer plans to open his first-ever freestanding boutique, and he's picked the City of Light for its debut. Additionally, an Internet boutique will bow on, and he will begin work on his first signature perfume with Parfums Christian Dior.

Galliano president Valerie Hermann confirmed the three key developments and characterized them as "the second phase" in the development of the house.

"And, of course, we are very supported by our shareholder," she added, referring to LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which backs Galliano as well as employs him as the creative director of Christian Dior. "Business is very strong at the moment."

Hermann declined to pinpoint the location in Paris for the first John Galliano boutique, but said she's zeroing in on a "very well-placed" site. The store is scheduled to open its doors in the second half of next year.

As for the Internet boutique on LVMH-owned, she said: "It will be very specific and very Galliano. John has been very involved in the building of the Internet site."

Construction of the Web site should be completed next month; it is slated to go live in March, she added.

Hermann declined to divulge details about the fragrance, which is in the early stages of development. It is expected to reach the market some time in 2002.

Also coming on stream in 2001 is Galliano's new eyewear collection under license with Frances Airess, which also makes eyewear for Kenzo and Escada. The first collection will be introduced at the end of January, Hermann said.

The new product launches and the arrival of the first boutique follow the introduction of several other key product categories, including handbags and small leather goods, which were launched late last year. At the time, Galliano said handbags alone could account for as much as 30 percent of the house's sales.

Galliano's ready-to-wear, his core business, is made and sold under license by Christian Dior-owned Les Jardins d'Avron. It is believed the firm generated sales of about $16 million in 1999.(Dollar figures converted at current exchange rates.)

Galliano has had a meteoric career in fashion. His romantic fall 1994 collection was considered a breakthrough and foreshadowed his rise at LVMH. He was named couturier of Givenchy in 1995 and moved to Christian Dior in 1996.

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