By  on July 27, 2011

PARIS — Capitalizing on the heat attributed to its brand name,Balmain has big ambitions for its new second ready-to-wear line,produced under license by reborn Ittierre SpA and slated for earlyDecember delivery.

Sporting a more casual, downtown vibe than itsbig sister — and without the nosebleed price tags — Pierre Balmain isgunning for 700 doors in its first season, targeting Europe, the U.S.,Middle East and Asia, and plans to open freestanding boutiques in HongKong, Milan, Paris and Rome before the end of the year. Retail pricesare to range from 120 euros, or $172 at current exchange rates, forT-shirts up to 900 euros, or $1,291, for eveningwear.

The firstcollection, for spring 2012, spans a variety of women’s and men’scategories, including knitwear, tailoring and denim.

“We seePierre Balmain as a new and distinct brand that is inspired by thesuccesses and history of a great house, but offers a look and productthat respond to the needs and desires of today’s marketplace,” Balmainchairman and chief executive officer Alain Hivelin told WWD. “We knowthat Ittierre, with its great expertise, experience and reliablequality, is the perfect partner for this new venture.

“Our goalis to position Pierre Balmain as a new global brand that will beestablished in all the key international markets,” he added.

Hivelinsaid the two collections remain part of the same brand universe, butwith different outlooks.

Olivier Rousteing, who earlier this yearsucceeded Christophe Decarnin as Balmain’s head designer, will make the“quintessentially Parisian” main collection “even more sophisticatedand couture-like — without, of course, renouncing that ‘roc’ aestheticthat has been so important for us these the last few years,” Hivelinexplained. “The Pierre Balmain collection translates the codes ofBalmain in a more casual and relaxed manner.”

He noted thatRousteing would concentrate exclusively on the Balmain label, while thenew line will have its own separate design team.

Hivelin declinedto give sales projections for the launch, but described large ambitionswith “Pierre Balmain boutiques in all key international cities.”

Thecompany plans to unveil a new Web site for the brand during ParisFashion Week this fall, signaling a digital-based marketing strategythat will leverage social media.

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