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Façonnable Launch Targets Men

Brand plans to open several stores for new denim-based sportswear line by 2013.

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PARIS — Eager to entice the younger male shopper, Façonnable has launched a denim-based men’s sportswear line dubbed Façonnable Jeans.

“You can call it tailored denim,” said Lance Isham, chairman and chief executive officer of the casual-chic firm based in Nice, France. “It’s a way of dressing, a unique blend of wearing jeans, sportswear, caps and ties. It’s more about the collection than the jeans.”

The 175-piece line boasts an array of washed shirts, English tweed blazers, sports jackets and accessories in a palette of ochres, mustards and a mix of blues, playing on the tones of the sun and sand of the Cote d’Azur.

Meanwhile, selvedge denim styles carry monikers nodding to the brand’s French Riviera roots, such as Olive, Galet, Nissa, Legend and Paradis. Blazers start at 215 euros at retail, or $315 at current exchange. Jeans go from 115 euros, or $166, to 215 euros, or $315. Isham said the collection targets a consumer “a generation and a half” younger than that of the traditional Façonnable shopper.

“If we could do selvedge socks, then we would,” said Isham, reflecting on the quality of the tailored denim in the collection.

The first freestanding Façonnable Jeans flagship has a soft opening this month and will have a grand opening on May 11 at 10 Rue Paradis in Nice, next door to the Classic Façonnable boutique.

The 1,290-square-foot unit, with a French wooden facade, will be set over two floors, with ceramic tiles and wooden floors among its features.

“This will be our first location, but we will be looking to open in Paris and the United States,” said Isham, adding that the plan is to open several stores by 2013 in markets where Façonnable already has high brand recognition. “Consumers want to experience the Façonnable lifestyle through our freestanding stores. We are already looking at a location in SoHo [in New York].”

Spearheading the new store concept for the line is Bruno Pfalzgraf, managing director of the denim division, who previously worked as vice president for Levi Strauss Signature Europe. The brand is keen to steer away from being stereotyped as a men’s brand, with a women’s Façonnable Jeans to be added in 2013 consisting of similarly casual-yet-tailored jeans and accessories.

“We want to explore a new way of dressing a different consumer base and we view jeans as a main accessory and as tailored denim,” said Isham.

The company also is giving its digital communication an overhaul, with a separate e-commerce site for the Façonnable Jeans line due to be added over the coming months. Isham said the Façonnable Jeans brand could generate 30 percent of the company’s revenue by 2016.

Façonnable is owned by Lebanon-based M1 Fashion, which acquired the brand in 2007 from Nordstrom for $210 million.

“Our customer has responded very favorably to the Façonnable collection for spring-summer 2011 and the trend has continued in 2011 with results exceeding our expectations and in double-digits,” said Isham.

Façonnable operates 112 doors worldwide, inclusive of company-owned stores and franchises.

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