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NEW YORK — First, it was the men; now the women got their makeover.
This story first appeared in the January 21, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Façonnable is going through a revamp, and earlier this month, the new women’s fall collection was unveiled in New York. The lineup picks up on Riviera themes — the brand was founded by Jean Goldberg in 1950 and is based in Nice, France — though the clothes are rendered with enough substance to be suitable beyond resort.
Where once women’s at Façonnable was a study in basics like cotton shirts and chinos, and accounting for just 5 percent of sales, new artistic director Daniel Kearns is looking to infuse the brand with a more fashionable sensibility and hopes to turn it into a substantial category for the company.
“My approach for the women’s wear collection was to try to create a ‘contemporary wardrobe’ using the DNA of the brand,” Kearns said. “When I think of the French Riviera I think of color, light and an easy-chic approach. Women like Romy Schneider and Grace Kelly in Cannes and Monte Carlo, the photography of Helmut Newton; it is a rich source.”
His approach, he added, was a mix of “tailoring and flou, sometimes mixed in the same piece, to create codes that can be used in the most simple pieces and to work on fit, light materials and colors.”
Highlights include a beige double-face coat for $1,295 at suggested retail, which the brand is teaming with a white cashmere turtleneck, $825, and pleated flannel pants, $475; a blush knit cashmere-and-silk top, $995, shown with a metallic leather pencil skit, $2,250, and a printed silk jacket, $1,195, with slim-cut pants for $595.
Ludovic Le Gourrièrec, who joined Façonnable in July as deputy managing director, elaborated, “It’s a completely new story we are launching in fall. It’s a complete collection, from Monday to Sunday, with evening dresses — we are a brand for the French Riviera, so there is the Cannes Film Festival.”
Lebanon-based M1 Group, which bought the company from Nordstrom in 2007 for $210 million, is looking to upgrade the brand, thus recent investments such as Kearns’ hire and new management to position it for the future.
Kearns came to Façonnable from Yves Saint Laurent, where he was men’s wear design director under Stefano Pilati, and worked with John Galliano to launch that brand’s men’s wear in 2002. He also worked as design director for men’s wear at Alexander McQueen until the designer’s 2010 death, and designed sailing collections for Louis Vuitton.
The fall looks will start arriving in Façonnable stores in April. The relaunch of women’s will correspond with a new advertising campaign photographed by Alexandre Tabaste in the South of France.
The company is also looking to wholesale the collection, and the plan is to grow the business to represent 30 percent of overall sales, or, as Le Gourrièrec said, “roughly $40 million worldwide.” The growth in women’s will also be reflected as store designs are being updated. “Today we have eight stores in the U.S. including [Manhattan’s] Fifth Avenue, Costa Mesa [Calif.], and San Francisco,” Le Gourrièrec noted. “Most of them were 95 percent men’s, and depending on the location, we will develop ladies as well.”