PARIS — Cacharel has signed a licensing deal with Italy’s Aeffe Group for the manufacturing and distribution of its women’s wear collection from next year.

This story first appeared in the November 10, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Until now, the French fashion house, best known for its colorful prints, had been directly involved in the manufacturing and distribution of its women’s ready-to-wear line, which was relaunched in October with a spring collection designed by Belgian designer Cedric Charlier.

“This agreement will allow us to return to worldwide distribution, which we had lost, especially in the U.S,” Cacharel president Jean Bousquet told WWD.

The partnership will begin with the fall collection, which will be presented in the Paris, Milan, New York and Tokyo showrooms of Aeffe from January.

The deal will enable Cacharel to focus on the creative side of the business, along with the licensing activities and communication, while Aeffe will be tasked with manufacturing the collections and widening the distribution network.

“In the first season we are targeting 400 doors worldwide, 40 of which will be in the U.S.,” said Aeffe chairman Massimo Ferretti.

Cacharel is available in 12 doors across the U.S. According to Ferretti, the partnership will initially aim to have corners in department and specialty stores, with the opening of Cacharel boutiques envisaged in the long term.

The brand operates one directly controlled store, in Avignon, in the south of France.

Bousquet said the deal with Aeffe will help underscore Cacharel’s position between high-end labels and fast fashion. “We are a designer brand at accessible prices,” he said.

After becoming prominent in the Sixties and Seventies for its youthful, romantic style, in recent years the brand has struggled to regain its former profile, despite taking on board well-known designers. After parting ways with the husband-and-wife duo of Suzanne Clements and Inacio Ribeiro in 2007, Cacharel hired another design pair, Mark Eley and Wakako Kishimoto, who left in November after just two seasons at the house.

Earlier this year, the fashion house hired 31-year-old Charlier, who spent the last six years working as Alber Elbaz’s assistant at Lanvin.

In addition to women’s wear, Cacharel owns a children’s wear line and several licenses for eyewear, jewelry, home furnishings and perfumes. The latest fragrance launch, Scarlett, has been “very encouraging,” according to Bousquet.

Aeffe manufactures and distributes Alberta Ferretti, Philosophy by Alberta Ferretti, Moschino, Moschino Cheap and Chic, Pollini and Jean Paul Gaultier.

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