NEW YORK — Designer Michele Bohbot of Bisou Bisou has attitude and that’s just fine for J.C. Penney.
"With my European taste very picky eye, Bisou Bisoubring femininity to J.C. Penney, and J.C. Penney will bring affordability to Bisou Bisou," she at the party to launch her exclusive collection for the chain.
About 300 suppliers, Wall Street analysts, consultants and dealmakers came to the Whitespace photo studio on Manhattan’s west side Jan. 23, to see how Bohbot interpreted Bisou Bisou for Penney’s, and to catch some the Penney’s fever. Led by Allen Questrom and Vanessa Castagna, Penney’s has a new culture, and is gathering momentum after good Christmas season. Following the Bisou Bisou pact — making Penney’s the sole distributor Bisou Bisou product in North America — other brands are seeking to sell the 1,000-unit chain. Penney’s plans to add least another contemporary label to its stable of private brands.
"Bisou Bisou is a door opener," said Roseanne Cumella, senior vice president of merchandising at the Doneger Group, which provides buying and consulting services to Penney’s and other stores. "Penney’s has changed. They listen. They communicate. They’re out there trying to learn. They’re no longer insular and no longer look at competition laterally. They’re watching everythingfrom Saks to Wal-Mart."
According to Questrom, chairman and chief executive of the Penney’s corporation, Bisou Bisou begins to fill a big void in the assortment. "J.C. Penney has always catered to $30,000 to $70,000 income families, the value customer, with great prices and great quality. Now we are adding fashion to that," he said. Penney’s other brands, like Arizona, have new design teams and are being overhauled.
The Bisou Bisou collection is Penney’s most fashion forward, with flirty skirts, cropped cargo pants, sexy lacy tops, little dresses, bikinis and lots of detail like trim, ruching, ribbons and beads. It will be in 450 "major market" stores beginning in February, and displayed with Penney’s other proprietary contemporary label, Mixit, on specially created "pads" with new fixturing and bold signs, said Castagna, chairman and ceo of stores, catalog and Internet."There are really two reasons why we are doing this," said Castagna. "First, to get customers who have been shopping our home store and children’s wear over into our apparel areas, which they may not be shopping. Second, we think Bisou Bisou will encourage new customers who haven’t been shopping J.C. Penney to come to our stores. It’s part of a strategy of updating and offering very good prices."
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast