PARIS — Carine Roitfeld — one of France’s most famous editors and fashion personalities — is making a leap into design with Japanese retail giant Uniqlo.
This story first appeared in the April 16, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Revealing the partnership exclusively to WWD, Uniqlo said the Carine Roitfeld Collection for fall would be available at its flagships worldwide, and its online store, from the end of October.
Uniqlo design director Naoki Takizawa oversaw the design of the 40-some items — spanning from lingerie to coats — which will be sold under the fashion giant’s LifeWear banner.
Calling Roitfeld a “charismatic fashion editor and influential figure in the fashion world,” Tadashi Yanai, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Uniqlo parent Fast Retailing Co. Ltd., said the collaboration reflects the Japanese brand’s aim “to create everyday clothing that is functional, comfortable and reasonably priced.”
Retail prices and other specifics were not immediately available.
It will be interesting to see how Takizawa translates Roitfeld’s signature style, hinged on fierce footwear, perfect pencil skirts and sharp tailoring, along with simple silk blouses and sweaters.
Roitfeld, founder and editor in chief of CR Fashion Book and the global fashion director of Hearst Magazines’ Harper’s Bazaar, said she “started from the idea of clothes that I would want to wear myself, and developed this into clothes that anyone would want to wear, a woman’s ideal of clothes that make her feel transformed when she wears them.”
Takizawa said he believes a “new type of LifeWear will be created through her work.” LifeWear spans about a dozen categories at Uniqlo, including its popular ultralight down jackets, leggings, denim, cashmere, fleece and silk.
“Carine goes to see collections all around the world and the visuals that emerge from this relentless pursuit of leading-edge fashion have had a tremendous influence on the fashion industry,” Takizawa continued. “The clothing depicted in these fresh and innovative visuals, produced with the fashion world’s most influential creators, seems somehow triumphant.”
The tie-up with Roitfeld echoes Uniqlo’s recent collaboration with Inès de la Fressange, another Parisian style icon, and suggests the Japanese fashion giant is keen to leverage the popularity and drawing power of such personalities — and not only designers.
That said, Uniqlo also plans a special men’s and women’s collection with Paris-based fashion brand Lemaire for fall retailing. Christophe Lemaire and Sarah-Linh Tran design Lemaire, known for its luxurious, minimalist tailoring with an Asian tinge.
One of fashion’s most prominent stylists and the woman behind Tom Ford’s steamiest days at Gucci, Roitfeld segued into magazine editing full time in 2001, when she was tapped to helm French Vogue. Prior to that, she spent years styling shoots for titles including French Glamour, V Magazine, French Elle and The Face.
At French Vogue, she made a name for herself with provocative, sharply hewn layouts that were sexy and playful, exalting styles tinged with rebellion yet always resolutely Parisian. Along the way, she helped fan the careers of models including Lara Stone and Natalia Vodianova — and became a media star herself with her trim legs, smoky eyes and floppy hair, foreshadowing the photo blogging frenzy now engulfing showgoers.
Roitfeld has also styled campaigns for brands including Yves Saint Laurent, Calvin Klein, Chanel and Tom Ford. She launched CR Fashion Book in 2012 with longtime collaborator Stephen Gan, whose creation was documented in the 2013 documentary film “Mademoiselle C.”
Asia’s largest apparel retailer, Fast Retailing raised its full-year profit forecast by 20 percent on April 9 based on strong sales at Uniqlo stores in Japan and abroad.
Yanai has repeatedly said he aims to grow the company into the world’s number-one apparel manufacturer and retailer by expanding internationally.