Instead of trying to be everything to everyone, Atelier Caito for Hervé Pierre takes a more measured approach to fashion.
Two years into the business, founders Nicolas Caito and Hervé Pierre are concentrated on building relationships and specialty store distribution with Bergdorf Goodman and others. A few daytime dresses and Italian-made knitwear are new additions to the predominantly American-made collection. A sleeveless viscose and stretch dress offers an opening retail price point of $1,595, which is $300 lower than last season’s opening price point. More about wardrobe building than anything else, the item is meant to be easy to pack and versatile, whereas the label’s evening looks require more handwork and subsequently higher prices.
During a preview Tuesday at their atelier, the two founders and Caito’s wife, Camille Caito-Tetard, who serves as chief operating officer, said inroads are being made in China, Russia and Canada. They noted that new stores are intent on finding labels that are not available anywhere else so that their businesses are destinations or by-appointment only. “For us, it’s about the relationships and your brand cannot be found everywhere. It’s a luxury,” said Pierre, adding that they have declined offers to sell their collection in select cities where they already have distribution.
To appeal to international stores, Atelier Caito for Hervé Pierre will be shown Jan. 19 to 21 in an apartment on Rue Saint-Honoré near the Balmain store in Paris. The collection is never shown on a rack — always on a model with a set-like backdrop. “These dresses have to have a surrounding that match them,” Pierre explained.
Caito noted that clients are interested in getting an explanation and the history of a luxury garment. Knowing that buyers are not the ones selling the collection, Caito and Pierre have made a point of informing salespeople, who do. After Stanley Korshak bought the label, the pair flew to Dallas for the day to share their personal stories with the sales staff. “It was so successful because suddenly they related to the product,” Pierre said. “It’s all about the service and creating stories. And not a bulls–t story — a true story. We built this collection.”
Caito contined, “This is why we choose these lines and why the lining is like this. We love to do that. It creates a special connection and it makes it easier for them to explain to their own clients.”
Stores seem to appreciate that reviewing the 21-style line is considerably speedier than an all-day buy at a luxury house, the founders said. To simplify things for buyers, the assortment is edited for different body types and varying degrees of modesty. With only two presentations, they are strategic about their deliveries. A cotton and silk short A-line pink dress with side pockets — one of the few daytime looks that are new additions — will be shipped in May or June for buy-now-wear-now. Other styles are geared for fall and pre-fall orders. Regardless of the season, consumers are in search of lighter weight garments that allow for freer movement, and Caito and Pierre have obliged.
By focusing on the product, alterations, the client, the choice of the fabric, the cut, the lining, Caito and Pierre try to eliminate any guesswork for the client. Another indication of the craftsmanship is the line sheet, which features miniature versions of sketches for each style that are free from individual names.