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Elie Tahari is continuing to make his mark on the global front.
This story first appeared in the July 25, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The designer just opened in-store shops at Selfridges and Harvey Nichols in London. The two spaces take their design cues from architect Piero Lissoni’s retail concept for Tahari. Similar to the six freestanding Tahari retail boutiques in the U.S., the new shops will feature a mix of Baroque tables and chairs, bronze details and crystal chandeliers.
“We are taking London and England very seriously and are investing in opening shops,” Tahari said. “London is one of the fashion capitals, and our success there speaks for itself.”
Tahari started selling his collection in London two years ago. Buyers for both Selfridges and Harvey Nichols said Tahari has already built up a sizable following among their London customers. “Elie Tahari is one of our strongest performing American brands,” said Lina Basma, designer wear buying manager at Selfridges. “The collection gets stronger every season and [it] has a very loyal customer at Selfridges.”
Vikki Kavanagh, women’s wear designer collections buyer at Harvey Nichols, agreed. “Since we began [selling Elie Tahari] a few seasons ago, it has proved fantastically successful,” she said, adding the store’s customers had picked up on the brand’s “classic pants, high-rise skirts and fitted jackets as well as pretty cocktail dresses and body-conscious knitwear for evening.”
Selfridges has dedicated a 1,060-square-foot space to Elie Tahari, which opened at the beginning of June, while a 650-square-foot shop-in-shop for the brand has bowed at Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge. “The boutique has definitely enabled us to widen our offering of the brand to our customers,” said Kavanagh at Harvey Nichols. “The cruise collection, in store now, is already selling fantastically and we have been able to buy more heavily into popular items such as the great little dresses that define the versatility of the brand.”
And to celebrate his boutique’s arrival in Selfridges, Tahari has created a limited edition Jordana dress in fuchsia wool, which will be sold in the store from September as part of the London retailer’s “Pinkridges” promotion. The monthlong campaign, in aid of the charity Breast Cancer Care, will see designers including Alexander McQueen, Philip Treacy and Miller Harris create limited edition pink products for the store. Tahari’s pink dress will retail for 240 pounds, or about $479, and profits from the sale of those products will go toward Breast Cancer Care.
Tahari, who sells his collection in 600 U.S. stores, has been growing his business internationally in his quest to become a $1 billion business. The company opened a showroom inside a 19th-century palazzo in the heart of Milan last year, and is also looking to open a showroom in London to expand the specialty store distribution in the region. Tahari also plans to start advertising in the U.K.
“We think that Europe is a great opportunity for us,” Tahari said. “Russia is a big success for us, as well as the Middle East and Asia. We are finding that the biggest growth that we have in percentages is international.” �