Lanvin Set to Roll Out Kids’ Line

Alber Elbaz’s first collection for children will debut alongside the resort collection in New York in June.

A sketch by Jeanne Lanvin from 1929.

PARIS — Taking to heart its house emblem — a mother and daughter in profile — Lanvin plans to introduce Alber Elbaz’s first designs for children alongside its resort collection.

This story first appeared in the May 4, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The 25-piece introductory line, for girls ages 4 to 10, will be produced in-house with a “superluxury approach,” according to Lanvin’s executive vice president Thierry Andretta.

“It’s a way to translate the universe of Lanvin ready-to-wear to the world of kids,” he said in an interview, noting the collection would span dresses, T-shirts, coats, sweaters and accessories.

Prices have yet to be finalized, but Andretta said the range would reflect Elbaz’s ultrasophisticated approach, including fabrics that could cost as much as 10 times as those normally used for children’s apparel. “We really want to stay in the luxury world,” he stressed.

The collection is to be unveiled in New York in mid-June, and be sold later in showrooms in Milan and Paris. Deliveries are to start in late November for the spring 2012 season.

The line will be offered to a maximum of 80 of Lanvin’s 400 women’s wholesale customers, and be featured in Lanvin boutiques large enough to showcase it, including flagships in New York, Paris, Los Angeles, Beijing, Hong Kong and Milan.

Given the tightly controlled distribution, Andretta said wholesale volume would likely top out at around 10 million euros, or $14.8 million at current exchange rates, in three to five years.

Jeanne Lanvin, who founded her couture house in 1909, earned a reputation for making beautiful clothes for mothers and daughters early in her career. She sketched designs for tots until 1935.

The Lanvin business continues to expand in other ways. Andretta said two franchise boutiques would open this fall: a 650-square-foot women’s-only unit in Copenhagen with Birger Christensen and a 2,400-square-foot coed location in Geneva with Anita Smaga.

Andretta cited a strong response to the March launch of online sales in France, Germany, Italy and England, with shoes a particularly hot category. The company plans to layer on additional European countries “step-by-step” and tackle Asia in 2012, he added.