NEW YORK — Karl Lagerfeld’s dream of designing three different collections in three international cities is about to become a reality, thanks to his growing love affair with lower prices.
“My idea was always New York, Paris and Rome,” said Lagerfeld, describing his design roles for Chanel in Paris; Fendi in Rome, and now a brand-new, less expensive line to be called Karl Lagerfeld, based here.
In a joint interview, Lagerfeld and Ann Acierno, president of new business development at Tommy Hilfiger Corp., which owns the Lagerfeld business, outlined plans for the global launch of the new contemporary women’s and men’s lifestyle collection. The line will be introduced in February for fall 2006 retailing and will be priced 50 percent below Lagerfeld Gallery, his designer collection.
“I’m very much into large distribution,” said Lagerfeld, from his expansive new showroom at 601 West 26th Street here. “With haute couture, I proved that I can design the most expensive things, and with H&M, I can do the less expensive things. This will be in the middle of all that.”
Lagerfeld’s wildly successful collection for H&M last fall proved he not only had the ability to design at less expensive price points, but that he also was a household name. The collection featured $19.90 T-shirts with the designer’s silhouette, $49 blouses and $149 wool-cashmere overcoats, and it helped buoy H&M’s fourth-quarter profits by 23.9 percent. At the other end of the spectrum, Lagerfeld took a trip to Tokyo several weeks later, where he inaugurated the opening of the largest Chanel store in the world and was mobbed by fans.
His popularity hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Hilfiger organization.
According to Acierno, the Lagerfeld line will be geared to the contemporary departments of top-tier department and specialty stores. “It will be young and spirited, with denim, sportswear, Ts, tanks and jackets. It will be a full lifestyle assortment,” she said. She explained that women today like to pair an expensive jacket with an inexpensive tank, but have to run from store to store to put a look together. The new line will be housed near such resources as Marc by Marc Jacobs and Theory and will offer “more variety and breadth.”
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