KENZO STUDIO BOWS IN U.S.
Byline: Alice Welsh
NEW YORK — Kenzo is making his move on America.
The Paris-based designer has signed a licensing agreement with the Bonaventure Group here to produce and market Kenzo Studio, his first bridge collection, exclusively for distribution in the U.S. and the Kenzo retail stores in China.
The first line made its debut at Kenzo Studio stores in Shanghai last October, but will be introduced next week in the U.S. for fall selling.
Bonaventure has also been licensed to make a Kenzo Studio jeans line for spring 1996.
Bonaventure is a 25-year-old, Hong Kong-based, privately owned company that manufactures women’s sportswear for the U.S. market. Its labels are Jessica Tierney, a better sportswear line, and Laura & Jayne, a moderate blouse line.
The Kenzo Studio line be will shown in the Bonaventure Textiles USA showroom at 1411 Broadway, beginning Monday, with two fall groups, for July 30 and Aug. 30 deliveries.
Kenzo Studio is expected to generate about $20 million in first-year volume, said Danny Chow, vice chairman of Bonaventure Textiles, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bonaventure Group.
Kenzo will oversee the design direction of the line in Paris, in collaboration with Daniel Fierro, design director of Bonaventure Group. All fabrics are European, and the line will be produced in several locations, but mainly in the Orient and Europe. “This is not a domestic situation. Kenzo is involved in everything. We only adjust fit and certain styles for the American market. It is a true European bridge line,” said Chow. Fierro described the line as a highly detailed, spirited collection of clothing “filled with the color and prints Kenzo is known for.”
“I travel to Paris about every six weeks and work on the inception of the product with Kenzo and his design team. I bring the American voice to the line, concerning sizing and styling,” continued Fierro. “The U.S. customer has a resistance to certain things and what works for them is not necessarily good for us, and vice versa.”
For fall, jackets will wholesale for $160 to $180, pants $90 to $110 and skirts $70 to $85. Fabrics consist of stretch woolens, bouclé, jacquards, tweeds, leather, rayon and viscose knits, mohair, foulards and corduroy.”The knitwear is really important. There is a void for the Kenzo type of jacquards. Nobody else does them like him,” said Fierro. Prominent colors are orange, chocolate, pink and black mixed with patterns in the Kenzo signature style.
As a part of the licensing agreement, Kenzo will come to the U.S. in September to make store appearances.
Bonaventure wants to be careful with distribution.
“We don’t want to get overexposed, like some bridge lines, because then the product ceases to be special,” said Larry Lessne, president of Bonaventure Textiles.
“We want to form meaningful partnerships with top-tier department and specialty stores. Our plan is to have in-store shops to create the whole Kenzo ambience, like his retail stores.”
Bonaventure has already opened two Kenzo Studio stores in Shanghai, and another will open there in March. A Beijing store is planned for April. Bonaventure is looking for more sites in both cities and hopes to expand to 10 stores by the end of June.