FERAUD’S NEW CHAPTER: ESCADA AG SAID TAKING MAJOR STAKE IN HOUSE
Byline: Miles Socha
PARIS — The French fashion house of Feraud has found a new partner in Escada AG, WWD has learned.
Sources said the German fashion firm will acquire a large stake in Feraud, which since 1999 has been controlled by the Dutch group Secon. Escada and Secon officials could not be reached for comment.
Secon first acquired some Feraud apparel business starting in 1997 and has since embarked on a major renewal process: hiring a new creative director, Yvan Mispelaere, previously with Prada and Valentino; changing the name of the house to Feraud from Louis Feraud, and modernizing and streamlining its collections. Feraud showed its winter couture collection here on Tuesday.
Last March, Feraud introduced a new luxury ready-to-wear collection, a complement to the suits and occasion dressing that remain the bread and butter of the company. Although the collection had been segmented in the past, with casual looks labeled Contraire Louis Feraud and suit looks Louis Feraud Pret-a-Porter, the full breadth of looks are now all under the single Feraud banner. The house continues to build its new image through the couture and store renovations.
In January, the house unveiled its new design studio and administrative offices in a former ceramics factory in the 10th Arrondissement here. The move united all design staff, for couture, ready-to-wear and licensing, under one roof.
In an interview last December, Peter Heijt, who was named Feraud’s president and chief executive officer in November 2000, projected sales growth of 25 percent for the fall 2001 season, based on the new fashion direction and the addition of the luxury rtw.
The ceo stressed that the house has many avenues of growth ahead of it, including footwear, fragrance and accessories. American licenses include fur, fine jewelry and swimsuits. And the financial picture, despite heavy investments in the brand, is improving. When Secon started acquiring the brand in 1997, the house was losing as much as $27 million a year. Heijt said Feraud was on track to break even last year.
In 2000, sales of rtw at Feraud reached about $45.7 million at wholesale, with about half of that amount derived from the U.S. market. In all, the brand generated about $91.4 million at wholesale.
In the U.S., Feraud also is searching for a new retail location on New York’s Madison Avenue, with plans to replace its existing store at 5 West 56th Street. A new store would be designed by Roland De Leu, who has designed stores for Christian Dior and Celine and is working with Feraud on a proposed boutique on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore here.
Saks Fifth Avenue is creating a new space for the collection on its second floor of the New York flagship as part of its Tower redesign plan. Meanwhile, Saks Jandel in Chevy Chase, Md., is moving Feraud to a new freestanding store that will have interior access to the Saks Jandel boutique. It will be twice the size of its existing 400-square-foot in-store shop. The new Feraud space is set to open Sept. 1.
Founded in 1950 by Louis Feraud, who died on Dec. 28, 1999, the brand placed 83rd in an exclusive WWD consumer survey ranking the 100 luxury brands people were most familiar with. The survey, published in February, also asked consumers which labels they considered to be “luxury brands,” among other things.