PARIS — John Galliano will soon be within reach of a much broader audience.
Sharing details for the first time about his forthcoming second ready-to-wear line, the designer told WWD the collection — labeled Galliano — will be priced about 40 percent less than his signature range, but with the same design sensibility and the manufacturing prowess of licensing partner IT Holding.
“I’ve had the jeans and people have been receptive, but the prices have been prohibitive,” the designer said Wednesday. “We’ll be addressing the existing customer and a new customer, too.”
His first collection for spring 2007, including some 300 pieces, is being readied for July and will be unveiled to the trade at nine IT Holding showrooms. The Galliano line is expected to debut in as many as 500 retail doors worldwide, and the partners are already mulling the possibility of freestanding boutiques.
But the designer is eager to take things “step by step” and not launch with a major advertising campaign, or yet another runway outing. “I’m practically doing a show every four weeks. I don’t think I need to rush into it,” he said with a laugh. “It’s been a lot of work.”
Indeed, Galliano has been extremely hands-on with the nascent line, creating mood boards and color cards, sketching and never missing a fitting in Italy — to the amazement and delight of his Italian partners. He even made a point of road-testing clothes made by IT Holding, owner of Gianfranco Ferré and the licensee of lines such as Just Cavalli and Versace Jeans Couture.
And while the choice of brand name might seem obvious, the designer said he mulled many possibilities and tested how they would look as a logo on belts and clothing.
Galliano, who is also the couturier of Christian Dior, has taken a measured approach to growing his signature business, gradually extending into categories like lingerie, eyewear and men’s wear. The Galliano range will be his broadest missive yet, including tailored looks, sportswear, swimwear, knitwear, denim and bias-cut dresses. “It appeals to a sophisticated audience,” he said. “We want it to be cool.”
In tandem with the launch, the designer said his top line would be tweaked slightly to emphasize “more exclusive and expensive” items such as camelhair coats, bias-cut gowns and extensively embroidered and leather pieces.
Certain signature elements, such as his cheeky newspaper print, will remain the preserve of that collection.
The Galliano business is projected to generate wholesale volume in excess of 100 million euros, or $128.7 million at current exchange, in three to five years. It represents a potential new cash cow for IT Holding, which last year lost its lucrative contract for Dolce & Gabbana’s D&G Collection.