PARIS — A bit of Los Angeles arrived in Paris last week.
There were cheerleaders and marching bands in front of Galeries Lafayette here, noisily announcing the retailer’s “Los Angeles Fashion” event, running through April 29.
The flagship on Boulevard Haussmann rolled out colorful totems of Southern California, from Harley-Davidsons to beauty parlors promising fake nails and whiter choppers.
It was all to trumpet the arrival of a smorgasbord of West Coast brands, including Stitch’s, Hale Bob, Underglam, Kitson, Rock & Republic, Altru, Guess and American Apparel.
“Judging the public’s reaction so far, our bestseller will be silk tunics that have a real West Hollywood-at-night feel,” said Hale Bob founder Daniel Bohbot, who flew in for opening night festivities, packing his new line of cowboy boots, too. “It was cool to see how excited French consumers were to see all of these new brands from the U.S.”
Franck Cohen, French manager for American Apparel, whose temporary 200-square-foot stand marks its department store debut, said: “It’s fun to see our brightly colored product in a French context. We’re going to monitor consumer reaction and, if all goes well, we will consider opening corners in department stores worldwide.”
Denim brand True Religion showcased its “Johnny Big-T” white metallic jeans, even if its “Billy” stretch jeans in dark vintage would likely be a bigger hit with conservative mademoiselles, said Kelly Furano, international distributor for the brand. She also confirmed the brand, already distributed Europe-wide, plans to eventually roll out stores in Europe. “There’s definitely a demand for it,” Furano said.
And it will likely have neighbors. “We’ve had such a great response to our merchandise in Europe that store openings are something we might consider,” said Fraser Ross, owner of the Los Angeles retailer Kitson, whose stand featured brands such as Junkfood, Hudson Jeans and Amy Tangerine.
“Galeries Lafayette came to us and thought we would be a perfect fit,” said Ross, whose Stateside customers include Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan. He predicted the brand’s all-American Kitson logo T-shirts would be top sellers.
This story first appeared in the April 13, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.