LONDON — Her tulip dresses and tuxedo coats flew off H&M's racks, and her trenches and blouses for the Swedish chain have been commanding more than double their original prices on eBay.
But Stella McCartney and her team aren't planning any encore performances for the store. They're moving on and focusing on building her footwear and accessories business.
"The line for H&M was an exercise in branding. There is such an awareness out there of Stella's name, but until now, I don't know how many people could actually link Stella's name to a product," said Marco Bizzarri, chief executive officer of Stella McCartney.
"Plus, it's not exactly easy to find our products: We have three stand-alone stores and 200 wholesale accounts. We simply wanted a wider audience to understand the brand, to link the name to Stella's design and quality," he added.
During an interview a week after the fashion-hungry hordes descended on the McCartney racks at H&M, Bizzarri readily admitted that many of those shoppers can't afford signature Stella McCartney.
"At the very least, we've educated consumers — and piqued their curiosity — about Stella's world. Those same women who bought from H&M may well walk into Stella's store looking for the fragrance, a T-shirt, a pair of jeans or the Adidas trainers."
Just like French couture houses, which have traditionally relied on fragrances, scarves and small accessories to promote their brands, so a new generation of designers is relying on mass market retail to increase awareness and drive the business.
Karl Lagerfeld created a successful line for H&M last year, and sold his business to Tommy Hilfiger on the back of it, while McCartney and Alexander McQueen have inked deals with Adidas and Puma, respectively.
On Friday, the London-based luxury jewelry designer Solange Azagury-Partridge will unveil a 40-piece collection of costume jewelry for H&M. The line will be sold in 400 stores in 21 countries.
H&M's marketing director, Jörgen Andersson, called the Stella campaign a huge success, on par with the Lagerfeld line last year. While inventory remains in some countries, Andersson said volumes would be consolidated and sent to select locations in the U.K., France and Sweden, where demand was "extraordinary."But it's already time to move on. McCartney and her team are working on their next big project: a broad-based accessories line.
"We plan to show our first collection of bags and shoes to the trade in January. There is a huge opportunity for growth here," said Bizzarri, who will be building on an existing accessories line.
His background should serve him well. The Italian-born Bizzarri, 43, who joined McCartney's house last year, held posts as general manager at Marithe + François Girbaud in Paris, and general manager at Mandarina Duck, an accessories firm famous for its cotton and rubber bags.
"Obviously, at McCartney we're not working with leather, and non-leather accessories is a whole different business. It's a more difficult one, for sure, but we think we're in a unique position, and we're ready to exploit our strengths," he said.
The company recently hired Veronica Bertozzi as worldwide sales director. She replaced Bizzarri, who had been interim sales director. Bertozzi was sales director of Iris, the Milan-based shoe licensee for labels including Chloé and Marc Jacobs.
Caterina Seghezzi was named product development manager for Stella McCartney, a new post. She was formerly fashion accessories coordinator for Dolce & Gabbana, and also had worked at Mandarina Duck.
The shoes and bags will be produced in-house. Bizzarri said accessories account for about 16 percent of annual volume. "But we can get that figure to 30 percent very quickly — in less than three years."
The company's sales are expected to be in excess of 30 million euros, or $35 million, for the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2005. The firm plans to release figures by the end of this year.
Meanwhile, Bizzarri ruled out the launch of a secondary Stella McCartney collection. As reported, Alexander McQueen, McCartney's sister company at Gucci Group, has launched a secondary line known as McQ — Alexander McQueen that will bow for fall 2006. "We don't need to do a second line right now. We want to maintain the core collection. We have a fragrance and the partnership with Adidas. The priority right now is accessories," he said. "There's always the possibility of collaborating with other industry leaders who have particular skills and creativity, like Adidas and H&M."H&M's Andersson said more designer collaborations were likely if the retailer finds a "relevant" partner to work with. He said the key is finding a designer who wants his or her work to reach a large number of people via affordable pricing and its network of 1,160 stores.
James McArthur, executive vice president of Gucci Group, said McCartney's line for H&M has been a boon for the brand — and the business. "It's all part of the block and tackle of building the business and [name]," he said.
As reported, Gucci has encouraged its smaller brands, including McQueen and McCartney, to grow via deals with outside firms. Gucci wants both those brands to be profitable by 2007.
"Stella is absolutely on the profitability track," McArthur said. "This company is operating on so many different levels. The world of Stella is taking shape."
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye