PARIS — Michel Klein — who designs the couture and luxury ready-to-wear for Guy Laroche in addition to his own signature and Klein d’Oeil labels — is now responsible for the design of Laroche diffusion rtw.
Klein is working with a style coordinator and design team on the diffusion line. The first collection under the new organization will be spring-summer 1996, according to Laroche director Jean Jacques Schmoll.
Klein’s own labels, majority-owned by Groupe Guy Laroche, will not be affected by the designer’s new responsibilities, Schmoll added.
“We chose to make the change to create a greater uniformity in Laroche’s fashion,” he explained. “We want to give a better focus to the rtw, more along the lines of elegant sportswear.”
Previously, the line was designed by Jean-Pierre Marty, who had completed the upcoming fall collection before leaving the house last month. Marty, whose plans could not be learned, had been associated with Laroche for about 12 years, starting as a freelance design assistant to Guy Douvier, the late director of the firm’s fashion studio. After Douvier died in September 1993, Marty took over design of the diffusion rtw.
The diffusion rtw is priced roughly 25 to 30 percent less than the Guy Laroche Couture luxury rtw line, where a suit retails in France for $1,000 to $1,300 (5,000 and 6,500 francs). Schmoll has repeatedly said that this collection has contributed to Laroche’s achieving a more modern, elegant image since it was launched for fall 1994.
In the U.S., Barneys New York has had an exclusive on Guy Laroche Couture rtw since its first season, Schmoll said. This arrangement, however, will expire after this summer’s selling season. Schmoll said that appointments have been arranged with other U.S. specialty and high-end department stores to broaden distribution starting with next fall.