By  on November 27, 2007

PARIS — Capitalizing on a string of hit collections by its designer, Alber Elbaz, Lanvin is embarking on its next growth phase, headlined by a retail rollout and product expansion.

"The indicators are good and the untapped potential is still huge," said Lanvin president Paul Deneve, projecting sales growth in the range of 40 percent for 2008.

Partnering with local retailers, Lanvin plans to open about a dozen boutiques during the next year in the Middle East, Europe and India, he said, mentioning such cities as Istanbul, Dubai, Moscow, Athens and Delhi. Deneve is also scouting for company-owned locations in New York, Los Angeles, London and Milan, aiming to open three to four key locations over the next two years.

"That's a real jump forward in terms of distribution," he said during an exclusive interview. Also coming later this month is an 800-square-foot in-store shop at Bergdorf Goodman in New York. Until now, Barneys New York, one of Lanvin's key American retail partners, has had a lock on the brand in Manhattan.

At present, Lanvin operates 10 company-owned freestanding stores and an another 22 with retail partners, but roughly 70 percent of its business remains wholesale.

Part and parcel of the retail rollout is a new design concept. In September, Lanvin unveiled its first new-look unit at its Paris flagship: raw concrete floors, gleaming lacquer panels, industrial-steel fixtures and vintage Art Deco furnishings.

Deneve said a number of existing stores would be renovated with the design, including its Monaco location and the Paris men's flagship.

The executive declined to give revenue figures for the company, which is owned by Taiwanese publishing magnate Shaw-Lan Wang. But Deneve was unequivocal that Lanvin, fuelled by rapid sales in every product category, is entering a new profitable growth phase, entering the black in 2007 for the first time in years.

But the growth has been controlled. As Elbaz told WWD The Magazine last month, he dislikes the word "momentum" applied to Lanvin. "I'm not sure fashion is just about the here and now," he said. "For me, it's about design and about desire and dreams. Fashion is about creating a need; it's not about momentum. I hate that word. It's the most scary thing."

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