XOXO, GOTTEX IN LICENSING PACT
Byline: Katherine Bowers
LOS ANGELES — The sexier side of Gottex?
The New York-based swim brand will be strutting some skimpier stuff at the next Miami Swim show, thanks to a recently signed swim license with XOXO. Fifteen groups and coverups designed for the young contemporary label will bow this month, according to a spokeswoman from Gottex.
XOXO’s four-year licensing agreement with Anaheim, Calif.-based Lunada Bay Corp. expires today, but the two companies months ago “came to the mutual agreement that they couldn’t give us the attention that we wanted,” said Holly Fiene, XOXO’s vice president of design and merchandising.
Fiene said she and Lunada Bay also differed over direction.
“They wanted to go heavily into separates and I wanted a little more fashion direction,” Fiene said. Separates programs can dilute fashion impact, by relying on safer print combinations, she noted.
Lunada Bay chief executive officer Susan Crank said the company is currently in negotiation with two other licensees. The company, which holds the license for Bebe and Girl Star, launched two of its own brands — Becca and Rebecca V. — last year.
Under Gottex’s direction, XOXO swim will focus on trendier prints, said Fiene, with the goal of bringing swim fashions closer to the sportswear cycle.
“Traditionally, swim is a year behind sportswear and I’d like to get prints a little quicker, whether it’s camouflage or newspaper print or whatever the girl has [for sportswear,]” she said.
Gottex has worked recently to expand its image beyond high-end misses’ suits. The company launched Free, a younger, secondary line in 1999, which signaled to Fiene that the venerable swim company could vamp a little.
“[With Free], I saw that they could go with a sexier, younger fit and a little more forward [fashion],” Fiene said. “They’ve hired a great designer [Maya Levy] and I’ve been working with her closely.”
Distribution will remain a balance of department and specialty stores, said the Gottex spokeswoman. Sets will wholesale for $34 to $37 and separates for $17 to $18.