NEW YORK — Onward Holdings Co. Ltd., the Tokyo-based firm that owns Jil Sander, Joseph, J. Press, ICB, Iris and Gibò Co. SpA, among many other apparel-driven companies, opened two new flagships today at 20 East 20th Street in the Flatiron District here: Chacott by Freed of London and Hannari & MG.
The former is a dance and ballet apparel store with a skin-care line and yogawear collection; the latter is devoted to pet-related goods and children’s education items. Their combined retail space is 3,800 square feet. Both are what Onward considers lifestyle concepts already well-established in Japan, and which the company hopes to capitalize on in North America
In New York for the flagship openings, Takeshi Hirouchi, chairman and president of Onward Holdings, used the occasion to share the company’s international strategy for its various brands, beginning with Jil Sander. “We have Jil [Sander] back and we’re happy with that,” said Hirouchi. “With Raf Simons, he was a little bit forward-fashion and that was well-received, but now we’re going back to the origins with Jil. From what I hear, the reaction of the retailers has been good since the designer’s return to her label last year.”
In terms of a retail growth plan for Sander, Hirouchi sees Asia as a focus with additional potential in the future in Brazil and Russia, which are untapped markets thus far. He also stressed the importance and growth potential of Jil Sander Navy, the label’s more accessibly priced line. Asked if Sander would oversee the design of that collection, Hirouchi said, “That is the direction.”
Hirouchi also talked manufacturing. Between Onward’s production capabilities with Gibò Co. and Iris, both of which operate out of Italy — the latter in a new, state-of-the-art facility near Venice that is capable of producing 30,000 shoes a day — and factories in China, the group has established a strong “platform” on which to roll out wholesale and retail expansion in Europe and North America. “The craftsmanship starts in Italy and, of course, now we have China,” said Hirouchi. “There is a synergy there and a nice flow of communication between Italy and China. There’s a know-how that we’re sharing.”
On the subject of ICB, which was relaunched with American designer Prabal Gurung at the helm a year ago, it will remain exclusive to Barneys New York through pre-fall 2013. After that, the collection will be open to other speciality retailers. As a result, the label will hold its first runway show Feb. 11 during New York Fashion Week. Previously, the collection has been shown digitally through KCD’s Digital Fashion Show platform.
As for acquisitions, Hirouchi said Onward is always looking and hinted that a deal with another well-established lifestyle brand along the lines of Chacott and Hannari is on the table.
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
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The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion