NEW YORK — For new brands entering the U.S. market at a troubled time for the apparel industry, which is barely sustaining a glut of designer labels, one key factor to stand out has been building a reputation for price.
Two new collections to target American stores — Sonia by Sonia Rykiel and Liliu — have arrived with vastly different looks, yet a strong response from stores based on the quality of product for the price.
Liliu carries the look of a traditional ready-to-wear collection into a cost-conscious area of the bridge market, offering what stores have described as strong value for fabrics and workmanship. Sonia is taking a more modern fashion approach to the signature looks of designer Sonia Rykiel, making them more accessible through key specialty store accounts.
Here’s a look at the two lines:
Sonia by Sonia Rykiel
Since Sonia Rykiel exported her diffusion collection, Sonia, billed as the signature line’s “smart little sister,” last fall to test the U.S. market, the response from American stores such as Dernier Cri and White Trash Charm has been so strong that the company plans to expand its presence here this year and introduce related Sonia Rykiel products.
The company expects to hit $5 million in Sonia wholesale volume within the next three years, representing 20 percent of its overall sales in the U.S. by 2006, said Pierre Moise, president of Sonia Rykiel Inc. The Sonia collection was launched three years ago in Europe and also was introduced in Sonia Rykiel’s store that opened in the Village of Merrick Park in Coral Gables, Fla., last year.
The distribution of the line, which wholesales for $100 to $125 for most items, although some jackets are priced to retail around $500, will remain selective and limited through accounts such as Diavolina and Madison in Los Angeles and Nordstrom’s Via C in select doors.
“We believe that the collection is so strong that it speaks for itself and reinforces the existing signature Sonia Rykiel presence nationwide,” Moise said.
In addition to Rykiel’s four existing U.S. stores, Moise said new locations will open in 2005 and 2006, with dedicated space for Sonia built into the future retail strategy. The company also plans to bring its Rykiel Homme and SR Home collections to the U.S. in the near future.
Harald Folke Jonassen, the man behind the popular bridge label Flora Kung, which played a major role in the development of the bridge market in the Eighties, has returned to Seventh Avenue with a new collection called Liliu.
Although he retired in 1988 after selling Flora Kung, Jonassen eventually was recruited by businessmen looking to develop Russia’s emerging apparel market shortly thereafter. He spent the past decade developing the brand Disegni in Moscow and St. Petersburg. His latest venture is even more global in scale.
Named after Jonassen’s adopted daughter, Liliu will launch for fall with offices at 530 Seventh Avenue in Manhattan, as well as in Seoul, South Korea, and St. Petersburg. Jane Joung, who created the Disegni collection, is designing the collection in South Korea and producing it there and in Italy, a combination she said will afford the company the ability to incorporate both fine fabrics with reasonable prices.
Liliu is targeting an emerging category between the traditional bridge concept and what has emerged as “gold.” A white alpaca coat, for instance, is priced to wholesale for $466, silk and cotton dresses cost about $179 and an ivory silk tuxedo jacket sells for $189.
“This is driven by two things — the fabrics and the looks that we want,” Jonassen said. “There are few people in this niche.”
The response has been strong, with orders from Saks Fifth Avenue and several specialty stores that are quickly approaching $1 million in its first season.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty