NANETTE LEPORE’S JAPANESE DEBUT

Byline: Koji Hirano

TOKYO — Gaining inspiration from the country’s fashion magazines, Nanette Lepore opened her first boutique in Japan on Friday.
After signing a two-year licensing agreement last September with Japanese manufacturer Tokyo Style, this store seemed only natural, Lepore said at the opening.
“I talked with several companies, but Tokyo Style showed us the strongest approach,” she said. “They understand the brand very well and I am satisfied with their promotional activities.”
The 1,300-square-foot, two-story shop stands in the Minami Aoyama section of Tokyo, where other retailers include Comme des Garcons, CK Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana, Yohji Yamamoto and Tocca. The store’s design, created by Lepore and her husband, Robert Savage, resembles the firm’s boutique in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan, which opened last summer.
“Details, from the jewelry box to the chandelier, are the same as those of the SoHo shop,” she said, pointing out that the SoHo shop is one floor and the Tokyo shop is two.
Lepore said she thought this was the perfect time to launch her brand in Japan since the country is the firm’s second-biggest market, after the U.S.
“I have brought up the brand since we started our signature line six years ago,” she said. “Our variety of merchandise has expanded and I thought that the time has come to launch the brand in Japan.”
The contract with Tokyo Style also guarantees 10 in-store shops for Lepore to start, with a total of 20 guaranteed by the end of the deal.
“We are opening 15 shops this season, including this flagship shop, one in Osaka and shop-in-shops in Seibu Department Stores,” said Yoshio Takano, president of Tokyo Style. “We will add four shops in fall-winter of this year. We project [$16.7 million] at retail through these 19 doors.”