PARIS — Fashion label Gauchere is having a busy September. Not only is it setting up shop at Selfridges for a four-week pop-up, but it is also breaking new ground with its first foray in China with I.T. and another new-to-them territory — men’s wear — through e-tailer Ssense.
Gauchere founder Marie-Christine Statz, explained that while they’d been working with the e-tailer for the past three seasons in the women’s category, extending her offerings for men hadn’t been on the cards until its men’s buyers reached out.
“What they were looking for wasn’t for us to create a dedicated line with cuts reworked for a male body, but to buy our existing collection and for us to find ways to offer our styles in extended sizes,” she said, adding that the label had an existing but minimal male clientele on their own e-commerce.
In her opinion, gendered categories are fading as consumers across the divide prioritize fit and style over other criteria. “As a designer, the idea of tapping into a like-minded community and seeing those who desire the pieces wearing them is creatively appealing,” she said.
Cue an extended-size range, which played well with the brand’s breezy tailored wardrobe and the left-on-right buttoning style that Statz had kept for women. The selection on Ssense will include jackets, trousers and knitwear, as well as the label’s buzzy “Double X” slides with puffy straps.
This is but one opportunity that arose thanks to, not in spite of, the ongoing health crisis. “If there is a silver lining to the past 18 months, it’s that digital appointments have nonetheless led to new projects and partnerships. Contrary to what we could have imagined, it wasn’t a barrier to drawing [people] into our universe,” said Statz.
Another is her first steps into the Chinese market, which will see Gauchere showcased in the Chengdu and Hangzhou branches of department store I.T., which was clinched entirely over virtual showroom appointments.
The gender-fluid approach of her designs is increasingly resonating with Asian consumers — Gauchere is already present in Korea, Singapore and Taiwan — and translated well into the expectations of buyers, even through a screen and boxes of fabric swatches.
That’s not to say she is ready to abandon the physical world. “I miss the face-to-face and sharing the experience of what we are about,” said Statz.
Hence another project, opening on Sept. 5 at Selfridges in London. The Paris-based label’s pop-up store takes the format of a living room furnished with vintage finds with a Scandinavian vibe. Located on the department store’s designer-oriented second floor, the space was designed in collaboration with San Francisco-based interior architect Alice Crumeyrolle.
“The idea of ‘well-curated’ selections goes beyond clothing [today] and extends to how we are as people, in the [mundane or major] choices we make,” she said.
Gauchere will showcase its spring 2022 collection in a physical format on Sept. 30 at 1 p.m. as part of the official Paris Fashion Week schedule.