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MADRID — Mango is ramping up its U.S. expansion.

This story first appeared in the November 13, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The Spanish fashion retailer hopes to add 200 corners to its already-existing network of 12 stores, and is in talks with several potential partners. “We are in conversations with different U.S. department stores [to distribute the brand],” confirmed Isak Andic, Mango’s co-founder and chief executive officer. “We have not closed a deal yet, but a decision will be made very soon.”

Candidates reportedly include J.C. Penney, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue, although Andic declined to discuss with whom the retailer is in talks.

Andic spoke about Mango’s U.S. expansion on Wednesday night at a party here to unveil the retailer’s spring collection. The party for about 600 — including the Barcelona retailer’s advertising faces Scarlett Johansson and Dree Hemingway, a few royalty-related socialites, models and local film and TV personalities — was held in the Caja Mágica tennis complex, about a half-hour drive from downtown Madrid.

Temperatures dropped to 55 degrees as guests shivered through an hour-long photo call prior to a spring runway presentation featuring girlish sportswear with bunched and swingy skirts, minis, shorts, denim separates, big bows and belts and easy, comfort-conscious men’s wear.

After the show, guests moved onto an indoor tennis court for the after party. Johansson was seen, but not heard — except briefly. When a photographer singled out her red, red lips, she said: “Sorry, they’re taken.”

In a tailored black and tweed Mango dress, she then vanished to an upstairs sitting area where she could barely be seen. Meanwhile, Hemingway, in a fluffy bolero over layers and the same skinny chapslike pants she’d worn all day for press interviews, said, “I never go sexy. I’m more into a well-made pair of pants and a good shoe.” The 21-year-old great-granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, the face of Mango’s Web site and summer catalogue, didn’t stick around for mojitos and sushi.

Moises de la Renta, Oscar de la Renta’s 25-year-old son, launched MDLR Moises de la Renta for Mango, a mini collection of eight cotton T-shirts and tanks (women’s only) with tulle and gemstone trims. “I’m superexcited about collaborating with Mango. It’s a tremendous opportunity,” he said. The line will be distributed through major Mango stores worldwide, a spokeswoman said.

Wearing a high-voltage beaded sheath by Hervé Léger and signature peep-toe platforms, Mónica Cruz, Penélope’s younger sister, said she’d just wrapped a few film projects, “but I’m exhausted from walking the dogs,” she said. Cruz whipped out her cell phone to show a photo of her five dogs with red-ribbon collars “taken last New Year’s Eve.”

Mango’s 2009 Fashion Awards winner, 32-year-old Korean designer Lee Jean Youn, said apart from the 300,000 euro, or $449,700 at current exchange, prize money, “I prayed, ‘Thank you, thank you, God, for the best experience of my life.’” Youn, who designed the Mango show’s closing series — easy-shaped dresses and separates in white silk and cotton — will present a 25-piece spring couture collection in Paris in January, he said.

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