As the world turns its focus to Brazil, the sophisticated, surfy Brazilian brand Osklen is looking beyond its home country with an advertising campaign shot in California, its first appearance at New York Fashion Week and plans to add U.S. retail stores.
A staple of São Paulo Fashion Week, Osklen, founded by former physician Oskar Metsavaht in 1989, will make its American runway debut at 3 p.m. on Sept. 11 at Lincoln Center. The brand spans many categories, including footwear, accessories and men’s wear, but the show will center on its women’s ready-to-wear.
“I was invited some years ago to come, but I didn’t want to be like other Brazilian designers that have come to show in New York just to show without having any foundation,” said Metsavaht. The brand has been slowly laying that foundation by opening a store in Manhattan’s SoHo in 2007, and another on Lincoln Road in Miami in 2010. The brand also hired FiftyTwo Showroom to build its U.S. wholesale business.
The theme of Osklen’s spring collection is “Endless Summer.” “You know, that perfect day you have when you go to the beach in the very early morning and you spend all day from the sun rising to the sunset, and the colors that come from that. We have colors in the collection from the different landscapes on the beach at different times,” explained Metsavaht.
To further tell the story of the collection, Metsavaht decided Southern California would be the ideal setting for Osklen’s spring ad campaign launching in the January issues of Vogue Brasil, V Man and Interview. The shoot took place in three locations — Vasquez Rocks in Agua Dulce, Westward Beach in Malibu, and the Santa Monica Pier and nearby beaches — from Aug. 8 to 10.
Metsavaht snapped pictures behind the scenes as photographer Vavá Ribeiro captured models Heather Sutton, Jacob Crumbley and Alicia Kuczman in images that incorporated the natural environment and modern elements such as mirrored balls and a vintage turquoise sports car. Metsavaht said the contrasts are evocative of Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro, cities in which both urban life and the outdoors play important roles. In his work, he added, “I love to bring opposites together to find the harmony.”
Metsavaht is trying to maintain control over his design work even as he seeks a partner. For the better part of two years, he’s been negotiating to sell a majority of Osklen to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, PPR or Havianas owner SP Alpargatas, although Metsavaht said he’d like to “keep a big share” of the company he now wholly owns. “I would be the chief creative officer and the strategic positioning of the brand would be under my governance. That’s why the dealing is so hard,” he said.
Metsavaht hasn’t yet settled on the company that will acquire Osklen, but indicated he will do so in the next few months. He detailed that the advantages of agreeing to be purchased by LVMH or PPR would be access to their enormous infrastructures and getting leverage to secure the best retail real estate across the globe. SP Alpargatas appeals to him because the company could allow him to spearhead a high-end fashion division that would develop a portfolio of brands.
Osklen is pursuing growth outside Brazil with the understanding that it is a prelude to much bigger expansion when a partner is brought onboard. The priority of expansion to date has been raising brand awareness more than achieving significant financial returns from its international retail, which Metsavaht thinks are five years off. “Positioning a sporty lifestyle brand as luxury, it is something very new, different and hard to get,” he said. Complicating that, Metsavaht continued, “bringing a brand from the Southern Hemisphere in fashion is very hard work. We don’t have any….It is always from Europe, North America and Japan.”
The New York store “is still not profitable, but it is a project that I really believe in. I believe the economy is going to change here….Some projects, I see them as a way to spread my style. If I were just an investor, I would close my store in New York. The stores are a way I can express my style,” said Metsavaht.
Within two years, Osklen expects to open a store in Los Angeles and then follow that with units in other major U.S. cities. Osklen currently has 62 stores in Brazil, three in Italy, two in Japan and one in Argentina.
Year to date, Osklen has generated $140 million in revenues, according to the company. About 5 percent of the brand’s revenues are generated outside Brazil. Metsavaht said Osklen’s sales have increased 20 percent in each of the last two years, and he anticipated that growth rate would be repeated again this year.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty