Lance Isham, already executive chairman of Façonnable Group, has also been appointed chief executive officer, effective June 1.
This story first appeared in the May 12, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
He succeeds Alberto Lavia, who resigned earlier this month to pursue other interests and to return to Italy.
After nearly three decades at Ralph Lauren, Isham joined Façonnable in 2006. At the time, the fashion label was owned by Nordstrom, which a year later sold it for $210 million to M1 Group, a diversified family-owned company based in Beirut.
“Isham’s role and contribution have been instrumental to M1 Fashion in order to identify and strategize the future, as well as developing our vision of Façonnable as a primary player in the luxury lifestyle niche,” said Maher Mikati, ceo of M1 Fashion and brand manager of Façonnable.
In an exclusive interview, Isham said there are no plans to replace creative director Eric Wright, who resigned in January. The collection is now overseen by an international design team, which has been briefed to further dip into the archives and elevate the brand’s heritage appeal.
“There aren’t many brands like Façonnable — that represents an untarnished lifestyle and has a tremendous potential, not only in the U.S. and Europe but also in other parts of the world,” said Isham, adding the brand has its sights set on Asia, where it is in talks with potential partners.
He also cited robust sales growth in the Middle East.
Top performing markets are France, Spain and Belgium, but penetrating the U.S market is a top priority. To that end, three new stores will open in the fall — in Denver, Miami and Dallas. Since last fall, Façonnable is also carried at Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue. The company’s sales last year are estimated at 200 million euros, or $255 million at current exchange rates.
Recently, Façonnable introduced the concept of interactive windows in its Paris and Nice outposts, allowing customers to shop 24/7 via a touch screen. In addition, an appointment can be scheduled with a personal shopper, who will send regular updates on a customer’s favorite item via text message.