Frette is expanding its universe.
This story first appeared in the August 5, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The Italian specialist in luxury lingerie, loungewear, and bedding has entered into a collaboration with Harry’s of London for a men’s and women’s footwear collection, Frette by Harry’s of London.
The collaboration is part of a strategy to selectively grow Frette’s presence as a global lifestyle brand. The initiative will kick off with luxury footwear as well as high-end accessories and gift items for the home, beach and travel that are designed to pamper and entertain the most discerning consumers.
Beginning this fall, a capsule collection of soft, sporty leather and suede moccasins in rich autumn shades will coordinate with Frette’s seasonal home collection for fall. The footwear, which will retail between $350 and $440 for women’s styles and $445 for men’s, is designed to be worn indoors as well as outdoors.
Laurence Franklin, chief executive officer of Milan-based Frette Srl, said Frette and Harry’s of London share the same synergies and luxury standards.
“It’s a great niche company, and their management team and manufacturing is all Italian. Harry’s of London is owned by the Richemont group [Compagnie Financière Richemont], which also owns Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels,” said Franklin. “The focus on the details, branding and Harry’s of London’s technical construction makes it a Frette product. The designs are very classical, and people appreciate the quality and detailing….We sell an experience, not just a product, and we’re very mindful of that because we have a very strong return and loyalty rate from our customers.”
The footwear will be sold exclusively at Frette’s 25 freestanding global stores starting in November, followed by wholesale distribution to Frette’s 75 shops-in-shop and 25 corners at department and specialty stores worldwide in early 2014.
Frette’s product expansion was set in motion in late 2011 when the company significantly grew its slippers business with 15 colors for men and women. The new gift range, which includes porcelains, fragrance and decorative home accessories that incorporate patterns and textures inspired by Frette’s signature textiles, has been designed with companies that have “generations of expertise,” explained Franklin.
“We’ve also expanded leather goods that include a leather tray, as well as travel items such as a cosmetic pouch for women and a toiletry kit for men. For spring-summer 2014, we’ll have a beach collection with towels, sandals, beach bags and pareos, and picnic items such as outdoor glasses and trays for entertaining.…But our calling is still the bedroom and bathroom and the things that you wear in these rooms, as well as accessories that are part of a beautiful Italian lifestyle,” he emphasized.
Regarding business, Franklin would only say that combined wholesale and retail sales increased “10 to 20 percent, market by market.”
“Currently, business in Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and the U.S. is all very healthy,” said Franklin.
In an interview with WWD in May 2012, Franklin said of the 153-year-old House of Frette, “Globally, the business does over $100 million annually, about 70 percent is consumer oriented and about 30 percent is B2B [hotel, hospitality and custom orders].…Geographically, we do 30 percent of business in North America, mainly the U.S. and Mexico, and 40 percent in Italy, France, etc., where we have our own operations. The rest is in up-and-coming markets.…We plan selective growth in 2013 to 2014.…Hong Kong is a gateway market and it [China] has a strong domestic market where we have a good presence. We will expand in China with our partners.”
Istanbul and the Ukraine are the newest locations for Frette stores, while a unit in Shanghai is currently being expanded.
“We will probably be opening one or two new stores in the U.S. next year. We are looking at metropolitan areas where Frette customers exist such as Atlanta, Dallas, Houston or Chicago,” said Franklin.