Byline: Robert Murphy

PARIS — Lucien Pellat-Finet, the Paris-based designer known for his luxurious yet irreverent cashmere knits, has signed a three-year contract with Coronet Group to distribute and develop his label in Japan.
Pellat-Finet, whose client base is said to range from Mick Jagger to Princess Caroline of Monaco, said the agreement provides him with “a partner that will allow me to grow in Japan, while still policing my image in a way that is synonymous with the brand.”
The first stage of the agreement calls for a new Pellat-Finet shop to bow in the upscale Tokyo shopping district of Aoyama in September. An architect for the shop, expected to be about 500 square feet and similar in style to Pellat-Finet’s address on the Left Bank here, has yet to be named.
Unlike his first Tokyo boutique, opened in 1999 and shuttered only three months later, Pellat-Finet expects this shop to last.
“The first Tokyo shop was a fiasco,” he recalled. “I went into the Japanese market still wet behind the ears.” He says the experience taught him that he would be unable to expand in Japan, which currently accounts for 25 percent of his sales, without the proper partner to survey daily business.
The second aspect of the deal with Coronet, which also works with the Parisian house Chloe in Japan, is to license Pellat-Finet products, including accessories.
“All of the details have yet to be worked out,” said Olivier Klein, Coronet’s Paris-based representative. “But the idea is to develop a range of luxury products linked to the Pellat-Finet world.” Pellat-Finet said he expects the partnership to bear fruit, but he doesn’t foresee sales exploding.
“I’m interested in growing slowly and being able to control my image, which is paramount for long-term success.”
He said his line is sold in 30 doors in Japan, with 78 doors around the world, including Barneys New York and Neiman Marcus in the U.S. and Colette here.
“Pellat-Finet’s concept is based on exclusivity and luxury,” added Klein. “I think we are on the same page when I say we will not overextend the brand.” Pellat-Finet recently has been concentrating on restructuring his business. In 1999, he closed his New York flagship, which had opened in 1997, because of problems with his partner. He says he is currently interested in opening another door in New York as well as London.
He founded his label in 1994 and quickly carved out a niche business for his luxurious knits. His designs are sometimes subversive — see his sweater adorned with a cannabis leaf — and always expensive, retailing upwards of $1,000.