Melissa Odabash Prepares For 10th Anniversary

Swim Designer Plots Collaborations, Expansion

To celebrate its 10th anniversary, London-based swimwear line Melissa Odabash is planning almost as many special launches as it has years in business.

This story first appeared in the August 12, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The events follow the recent hiring of Malte Griess-Nega, formerly chief financial officer of Alice Temperley, as chairman and chief executive of the company, a move focused on expanding the business.

“He’s really turning around the company,” said designer Melissa Odabash. “Just in time for all of the fun this year.”

The line, which wholesales from about $75 for a swimsuit to $325 for a dress, is carried in some 500 doors worldwide, including Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Scoop. Odabash declined to reveal the firm’s sales volume.

Anniversary projects include:

• Collaborating with 10 artists to each create an image to use on limited edition swimwear and cover-ups, for resort. Prices are still to be determined, but the proceeds will go to charities of the artists’ choice.

• Teaming with Belstaff to created limited edition leather bomber jackets and leather bikinis for resort, wholesaling from $300 to $800.

• Enlisting Julien McDonald to create a spring beach line of “glam caftans for parties” for spring. Prices and details on the collaboration are still to be determined.

• Expanding into accessories, with full lines of beach sandals, hats and beach bags, while growing the dress business in its second year, for spring. Signing a license for a self-tanner is another possibility.

• Launching the brand’s first fall-winter collection of cashmere knits and dresses for fall 2009, wholesaling from $150 to $300.

• Adding more of its own retail stores, after opening the first, in London’s Notting Hill a year ago. Within the next 18 months, the plan is to add locations in London’s Chelsea neighborhood, then Manhattan, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

• Appearing in the newest James Bond movie, “Quantum of Solace,” with the firm’s special crystal-covered cutout one-piece swimsuits.