DICKSON ACQUIRES VOYAGE

Byline: Valerie Seckler

NEW YORK — Dickson Concepts International Ltd. is expanding its fashion empire with the acquisition of exclusive rights to distribute the toney — and trendy — Voyage label in Hong Kong, WWD has learned.
“The first Voyage store in Hong Kong is scheduled to open this month, at the shopping concourse of The Landmark hotel,” said Charles (Chuck) Jayson, president and chief executive officer of Dickson North America, confirming market rumors. “We have first rights on all product offerings in Hong Kong that are sold by Voyage.”
The distribution deal, for undisclosed terms, clearly marks a coup for Dickson Poon, founder and group executive chairman of Dickson Concepts International, and comes as the Hong Kong fashion tycoon continues to scout for similar deals, as well as mergers and acquisitions, for its Dickson North America unit.
“Voyage’s designs are highly unique and identifiable,” Poon said Friday. “They already have a very keen and loyal following in Hong Kong, and we look forward to building Voyage into a major force throughout the territory.”
Currently, Dickson North America holds the North American license for Tommy Hilfiger handbags, while Dickson Concepts’ license and distribution deals include Bulgari, Chopard, S.T. Dupont, Hermes and Charles Jourdan.
The arrangement with Voyage — an ultra-pricy collection of boho chic styles, from patchwork skirts retailing at $2,000 to embroidered tops for a scant $300 — also includes exclusive Hong Kong distribution rights to Passion, the diffusion line of the London-based fashion player. Plans call for Dickson to launch two Passion shop-in-shops, at Seibu’s sites in the Pacific Place and Windsor House shopping centers, on the same day it debuts the store that will become the Voyage flagship in Hong Kong. Product categories lined up for the launches include couture, ready-to-wear, handbags, jewelry and footwear.
In addition, the accord with Voyage gives Dickson Concepts the first option on any new brands that Voyage may develop, according to Poon, who cited Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani, A/X Armani Exchange and Mani as examples.
Voyage has sales of about $30 million to $40 million a year through wholesaling and a handful of stores in the U.S. and U.K., including its two freestanding stores in London and Bergdorf Goodman. While prices for the Voyage collection go as high as $4,000, items in the Passion line are south of $500. Founded in 1990, the Voyage collection caught fire about five years ago for its artsy-yet-chic takes in silk, linen, cotton and wool. About four years ago, Voyage began locking its front door at its retail stores and started a membership card in order to stop what it claimed was a constant copying by other designers. After amassing a pile of negative publicity from the card, Voyage abandoned the practice last year, saying that times had changed. Throughout, it has remained a favorite of supermodels and actresses such as Nicole Kidman, Madonna, Julia Roberts and Goldie Hawn.