FERAUD’S CONTRAIRE: A $10 MILLION CONTENDER

Byline: Janet Ozzard

NEW YORK — Louis Feraud’s new bridge sportswear line, Contraire, now in its second season in the U.S., could hit $10 million in wholesale volume in its first year, say market sources.
The line, designed and manufactured in the German city of Darmstadt for worldwide distribution, is “geared for a younger customer,” said Susanne Neckarmann, president and chief executive officer of Louis Feraud Inc. here.
Neckarmann succeeded Gloria Gelfand, who left Feraud in October.
Contraire has scheduled deliveries every two weeks, said Margaret Brinckerhoff, national sales manager.
Fabrics include a velour made of wool, silk and angora; lightweight wools; fake leather and fur; wool and viscose crepe, and high tech fabrics such as a polyester and elastine blend.
Styles include slightly fitted long jackets as well as short, shaped Eisenhower jackets, fake patent-leather fitted jackets with detachable fake-fur collars, related knitwear in rayon or chenille yarns and jumpsuit styles made in stretch jerseys. Wholesale prices run from $250 to $300 for jackets, with pants and skirts from $125 to $150.
The second October delivery consists of evening separates in black or cream such as a Lurex twinset, silk ottoman or velvet skirts, pants and jackets, and dress looks such as a short, cream silk dress with gold lace overlay.
“Roland paid a lot of attention to details,” said Brinckerhoff, referring to designer Roland Schneckenburger. “For instance, in the first delivery, where we have the brick, mahogany and honey tones, he uses gold zipper closures. But in the later delivery, where there’s navy and black, he switches to silver, just because that works better. There are novelty buttons, overstitching and other touches that make the line special.”
Fall deliveries are slated to start in mid-July. Contraire is supporting the line with an ad campaign that launched in January in such magazines as W, Elle, New York and Mirabella.
It also has planned in-store shops for some of its retailers and has opened freestanding stores in Paris; Athens; Strasburg, Germany; St. Petersburg, Russia, and Riga, Latvia. The Louis Feraud store here on 56th Street and Fifth Avenue is being remodeled and is scheduled to open in May, with a new Contraire boutique on its second floor, said Neckarmann. In addition, the company is looking for additional space for a Contraire shop on Madison Avenue, she said.

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