PARIS — Groupe Chantelle hopes to give its brands a lift. The French lingerie company is gathering its half-a-dozen labels into the same store, in a concept designed to respond to challenges posed by the increasing importance of online commerce. The first store is scheduled to open at the end of November in Italy.
“We have a certain number of brands, and are undertaking a considerable shift in terms of repositioning the image of our array of brands, with a group vision,” said Renaud Cambuzat, the group’s image director. The group’s new identity will fall under the name Chantelle Lingerie, or CL, he added.
The French company, privately owned by the Kretz family, counts six brands, including Chantal Thomass, Passionata, Darjeeling and Femilet, a Danish group it acquired around six years ago.
“We want to lean on ideas and not a demographic target, so instead of saying that’s the CL woman, that’s the Chantelle woman, that’s the Passionata woman, [we tell] ourselves that we are talking to the woman of today in a larger sense,” said Cambuzat.
The fashion photographer, who joined the company about a year ago, added that he finds the lingerie sector often plays on stereotypes that are based on seduction or focused on positive body image. The company instead is seeking to push a more subtle vision, he said.
New ad campaigns feature women in different situations, not necessarily wearing the company’s brands, for example.
The group’s main markets are the U.S., Northern Europe — Germany in particularly — and France.
In the U.S., the company’s lingerie is distributed mainly in Nordstrom and Dillard’s, while its store networks in Europe are fragmented, with a collection of single-brand stores under the label Darjeeling and multibrand stores under the name Orcanta.
The company is also working on clarifying each brand’s positioning.
“With the launching of our new concept, perhaps we can ensure that we have coherence and that each of our brands has a specific positioning with distinct territories, but also that they function together,” Cambuzat said.
The new store is slated to open in Milan’s City Life shopping center, which was designed by architects Zaha Hadid, Arata Isozaki and Daniel Libeskind.
“This store is really grounds for exploration for us,” explained Thomas Lombard, director of the company’s international retail development. The group plans to use the store to come up with ideas to employ in future boutiques and corners in wholesale networks.
The group is plotting further store openings in France next year, to test the concept in its home market, both in a city center and a shopping center, the executives explained.
“One store in Milan is not enough to validate the concept, we need several others to compare, so we’ll see next year in France what the reactions are and draw information from this,” added Lombard.
The company is working on developing a CL web site that it also hopes to launch in the first half of next year, has opened an Instagram account and plans to be active on social networks.
One feature of the stores will be speedy home delivery of unavailable sizes within two to three days.
“Our objective is to have more airy stores, to have an experience that resembles more of what you see in ready-to-wear, for example. This means reducing the density” of products in the store, explained Cambuzat.