Franck Malègue has had a long-standing love affair with New York City, so it’s no surprise that he chose Manhattan as the location for his first store outside of Paris.
The owner and designer of Éclectic, a men’s outerwear brand, will open a 1,600-square-foot store at 27 Greene Street, next to The Webster, early next year. It will join his two shops in Paris, in Le Marais and off the Avenue Montaigne, and a concession shop at Le Bon Marché.
The Paris-born Malègue started Éclectic in 2011 after spending several years in brand development for cosmetics, accessories and ready-to-wear companies. The tight collection of coats and jackets blends traditional designs with high-tech materials in a line he describes as “active tailoring,” or “tailored urbanwear” that “bridges together durability, functionality and elegance.”
Éclectic offers around 80 styles and each piece uses a canvas interlining in the front panels and lapels to give the garments shape and employs technical fibers and fabrics such as Cordura, Airnet, bi-stretch cotton and microfibers to provide wind- and water-repellency, stretch and other properties for today’s active man. One example is a sport coat in a 3-D mesh that Nike uses for its shoes.
“These are things today’s man wants, especially those who travel,” Malègue said. “You can wear it from a business meeting to dinner,” and if it starts raining on the way, he’ll also be protected. “They’re traditional enough for classic men and innovative enough to have an edge,” he added.
Each garment can take artisans in Italy up to 15 hours to produce, and requires a personal touch to explain their unique properties, which is why Malègue eschews wholesale. Eighty percent of the collection is seasonless, with a few models that phase in and out depending on season. And his collection never goes on sale.
“I call it slow fashion,” Malègue said. “Because there’s such a long development process, we had to be creative in our product and business model.”
Prices are high-end, with most jackets retailing for around $1,000, short coats for $1,000 to $1,200 and long coats for $1,200 to $1,680. The line tops out with an alpaca model for $2,000. “Men are willing to invest in their wardrobe and keep things longer,” he said.
Éclectic also offers a demi-measure program where off-the-rack garments are personalized for an extra 100 euros and available within four weeks.
Malègue, who moved to New York when he was 21 after finishing business school, returned to his native Paris to launch Eclectic — “I wanted my brand to be born in Paris, but it’s very cosmopolitan,” he said — but he visits the States frequently. He said 20 percent of Éclectic’s sales are from American customers, primarily New Yorkers, so it was logical to choose the city as the location for his first international store. “It was a no-brainer,” he said.