PARIS — It’s a busy year for Yves Salomon. Defying recession in austerity-battered Europe and signs of economic slowdown in Asia, the French furrier is taking his luxury business to new frontiers.
“This year marks a period of expansion,” an upbeat Salomon told WWD. “We want to focus on the development of the brand.”
Last month it opened a boutique in Saint-Tropez to “attract the jet set,” followed by a shop-in-shop at Brussels’ Francis Ferent two weeks ago. In September Yves Salomon plans to set up shop-in-shops in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing.
The move eastward is motivated by a sharp increase of interest coming from customers and distributors there, Salomon explained.
“Last year, we have seen a 30 percent increase in Asian customer traffic. That’s three-times more than the year before,” Salomon divulged, adding that he was “also pushing development in the U.S.” There will be a collaboration with Open Ceremony, featuring limited-edition pieces for the Army Line this fall.
The furrier, whose family business dates back to the 1920s, currently operates 38 doors, eight of which are freestanding.
In addition to the main line, the brand includes the aforementioned Army Fur line, boasting a sportier direction with a series of military parkas as its strongest looks, as well as Meteo, which is cycling in more color to attract a younger customer.
This season, Meteo will debut a new dyeing technique developed by Salomon, which allows fur to be printed and dyed on knitted garment, injecting more color combinations into the collection.
Meanwhile, French luxury furrier Revillon, which is owned by Salomon, is changing artistic direction, WWD has learned. Andrew Heather, whose arrival in 2011 was supposed to infuse the 290-year-old brand with a more contemporary twist, left unexpectedly after delivering his last collection in February.
The post was previously held by Peter Dundas and Rick Owens.
“We are currently looking for a replacement,” Salomon confirmed. “But we are not in a hurry. The next collection is not due until February 2014.”
The furrier, who insisted that he and Heather parted ways “amicably,” said: “Clients can take appointments to view the pieces,” noting that this would “[make] the line more exclusive, available to just a few customers around the world.”
With the acquisition of Revillon in 2007, Salomon said he wanted “to reactivate the ultimate fur brand which has stood for best quality and design for centuries.”
Revillon, dating from 1723, is France’s oldest brand, according to Salomon.