PARIS — Weeks after he opened his first shop in Saint-Tropez 20 years ago, French designer Jean-Claude Jitrois got a unexpected visit from Princess Stephanie of Monaco. Strolling incognito in the seaside Riviera town, she arrived unannounced to...
PARIS — Weeks after he opened his first shop in Saint-Tropez 20 years ago, French designer Jean-Claude Jitrois got a unexpected visit from Princess Stephanie of Monaco. Strolling incognito in the seaside Riviera town, she arrived unannounced to shop, leaving hours later with several outfits.Before that moment, Jitrois questioned whether he could make it in fashion. He had abandoned a professorship in psychology at the University of Nice to pursue his passion."When Princess Stephanie walked in, everything went ‘click,’" he recalled in an interview. "I knew that if a princess, who had access to the most celebrated couturiers in the world, decided to buy my clothes that I could make it. That there was a niche for me to fill."Today, Jitrois enjoys a widening reputation for sexy, rock ’n’ roll–inspired designs in leather worn by the likes of Céline Dion and Elton John. And his business is growing faster than ever.Orders for fall increased 20 percent, and sales this year are expected to top $12 million. He is carried in 80 shops around the world, including Le Bon Marché, Janet Brown, Harrods and Galeries Lafayette, where his is the top-performing designer collection. He recently opened a shop in Marbella, Spain. Hot French architect Christophe Pillet will redo his Paris storethis summer. Jitrois also operates boutiques on London’s Sloane Street and Red Square in Moscow. He plans to open a location in Cannes, France, within the next year. Meanwhile, the designer was just honored with the French Legion of Honor in a ceremony attended by actress Charlotte Rampling, among others. But for all his growing accolades, Jitrois said he prefers to lurk on fashion’s fringes. He doesn’t do runway shows, for example, and he dismisses fashion’s too-quickly changing winds.The designer describes his underground style as "part chic, part louche.""I think that clothes need to flatter the person before they flatter the designer. My principal preoccupation is doing clothes that flatter a woman’s body. Women come to me when they want to feel sexy and strong." Jitrois, 58, is perhaps best known for the stretch leather he developed in the early Nineties. Working with Dupont, he fused leather onto stretch cotton and then used the fabric to make pants and skirts."The problem with leather trousers has always been that they stretch out," he said. "But this leather stays taut. It works like a girdle. A woman who usually wears a size 10 wears a 6. The trousers totally mold her body. It gives her a great tush."This year, Jitrois introduced ruched leather. For fall his collection includes skin-tight leather trousers, corsets and jackets in fur. At Paris department store Galeries Lafayette, Jitrois’ in-store shop generates the highest revenue per square meter on the designer floor, according to buyer Sylvie Choux. "He beats all of our brands, from [John] Galliano to Chloé," Choux said. "It’s been a big surprise for us. But Jitrois has products that make women look great and he understands that women want to look sexy. When a woman visits his stand, she leaves with something. His clothes are almost irresistible." Jitrois acknowledges his good fortune at a difficult time for other independent fashion designers."It’s only now that we’re really coming into our own," he said. "I think you need about 20 years to establish a fashion brand. I think I have at least another 10 years doing this. And then I’m going to sell it all. I’ve already had two careers. I want to have a third."
“I grew up in New York but I hadn’t really experienced the city in any type of touristy way…This was probably the first museum I really explored and took the time to see,” said @haileybaldwin of the @whitneymuseum. On Tuesday night, Baldwin was joined by Jemima Kirke and more at the annual Whitney Museum Gala and Studio Party, which honored Lorna Simpson, Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo and Beth Rudin DeWoody. See more photos on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
Displayed starting this week at the @fashiontextilemuseum: An exhibition on designer @orlakiely titled “Orla Kiely: A Life in Pattern,” which spans two decades and contains more than 150 pieces. “I want people to come away loving pattern and print. It’s something that makes you feel so good,” said the designer during a preview of the exhibit. Also on show are mood boards, samples, sketches and more. Head to WWD.com to see more photos. #wwdfashion
Exclusive: @dsquared2 signs fragrance licensing agreement with Euroitalia, with the first effort of the new partnership being unveiled in September. The brand will launch two scents – one for men and one for women – in Italy. Read our interview with designer Dean and Dan Caten on WWD.com. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@louisvuitton has officially renewed Nicolas Ghesquière’s contract as artistic director of women's collections. "I am very pleased to open the next chapter of the story I started with Louis Vuitton almost 5 years ago," said Ghesquière, who first signed on to design the French luxury brand's women's line in 2013. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
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“There’s this amazing braintrust of people who know the whole universe so well. So we talked to them and they gave us more input,” said actor Alden Ehrenreich on playing the young Han Solo in “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” The cast was at NYC’s SVA Theatre last night for an advanced screening of the film, which hits theaters this week. #wwdeye #starwars #hansolo (📷: @aurorarosedecrosta)
@asaprocky spent nearly two hours in a Plexiglas box Sunday night at @sothebys putting himself through a series of “tests” to demonstrate the process of completing his new album called “Testing.” Get all the details and see all the pictures on WWD.com. #wwdeye
“I’ve struggled my whole life to find a bathing suit that fits me that doesn’t look like a maternity bra. I’m proud of the line because it’s an accurate representation of me rather than me putting on someone else’s clothes,” says @atlantabean of her swimwear collaboration with @piaarrobio, LPA X ATL. The two decided on a swimwear collab and increased the industry standard size for the pieces. Read more about the line — and our interview with de Cadenet Taylor and Arrobio — on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Dan Doperalski)