LONDON – Manolo Blahnik is changing its approach to seasonal deliveries, with a model that dovetails with consumers’ seasonal needs and ensures they’re buying sandals when it’s warm — rather than snowing — and fur boots for the winter, rather than the summer sun.
WWD has learned that effective in January, Manolo Blahnik will present four main fashion collections a year: spring, summer, autumn and winter, with a mix of styles. There will be no more collections called spring/summer, autumn/winter and no more pre-collections.
The aim is to keep the shop floors creative, fresh and relevant to the consumer, the company said, with the mix also reflecting the various weather conditions each season can bring.
“We find the fashion industry’s naming conventions counterintuitive to the consumer needs and patterns,” said Kristina Blahnik, chief executive officer of Manolo Blahnik.
“Traditionally the spring/summer collection is delivered from January, and autumn/winter from July, but in the Northern Hemisphere we are not seeing a demand for linen sandals when it’s snowing, or fur-lined boots when its 30 degrees [Celsius] outside.
“By re-naming our collections to be naturally accurate and logical, we feel we are focusing our own offering more appropriately.”
She added the company has “built a formula that factors in our global locations and temperatures, volume of distribution, and consumer patterns that will ensure we are offering relevant styles at the right time.”
The luxury customer’s shopping habits have changed, Blahnik said. “They have an expectation of instant fulfillment that is symptomatic of our current social climate, and our new model also addresses this.”
The wholesale sales campaign dates will remain the same, and there will be four press presentations a year.
Spring will be delivered in January/February; summer in April/May; autumn in July/August, and winter in October/November.
Blahnik’s move reflects a wider change in the industry with companies such as Burberry staging two see-now-buy-now, co-ed shows each year, putting a greater emphasis on local customers’ needs, and paying more attention to fabric weights and weaves it offers in different parts of the world.
“It is an important conversation that Burberry started very clearly, one that a lot of people are listening to,” Blahnik told WWD earlier this year, referring to Burberry’s decision to tear up the traditional seasonal calendar and stage its September and February shows.
At the time, she also talked about the company’s new Burlington Arcade flagship in London, and how its offer has been shaped around consumers’ needs rather than the traditional seasonal calendar.
The Burlington Arcade store offers men’s and women’s collections, with men’s shoes done in traditional “women’s” materials and vice versa. Blahnik said it’s meant to be a middle space, serving women who have begun to buy themselves smaller sizes from the men’s collections.
After a series of retail expansions in 2016, including the new London Burlington Arcade flagship, e-commerce with Farfetch.com, and new doors in Japan, Malaysia and Doha, Manolo Blahnik has 290 points of sale in 33 countries worldwide with 12 standalone stores.