De Castelbajac ‘s Youth Quake
From WWD ISSUE 08/25/2009
Jean-Charles de Castelbajac Spring 2010 looks (Photos by Courtesy Photos)
YOUTH QUAKE: Jean-Charles de Castelbajac is hoping to capture the street-savvy teen market for spring with the launch of a diffusion line called JCDC. The line will include pieces such as T-shirts, skirts and jackets emblazoned with the designer??™s signature kooky designs ??” one T-shirt features an image of Donald Duck, while a skirt is made from a fabric in a newspaper print. Prices for the line start at 60 euros, or $86, for a T-shirt and run to 230 euros, or $329, for a military style red-and-blue jacket with gold buttons. A spokeswoman for the designer said the line is unrelated to the collaboration de Castelbajac launched in 2007 with Lee Cooper denim, which she said has since ended. The collection will launch with a presentation held in London on Sept. 17, ahead of London Fashion Week, while a presentation in Paris will be held Sept. 23. And in a bid to find real-life hipsters rather than hired models to appear in the shows, the label has teamed up with Dazed and Confused magazine in London and Jalouse magazine in Paris to scout for unknowns, who can apply through the magazines??™ Web sites for a chance to appear in the presentations.
Saks Unveils New Designer Floor
From WWD ISSUE 08/25/2009
After lengthy and tricky vendor negotiations and more than $30 million in construction costs, Saks Fifth Avenue has delivered its ultimate designer experience.
The 61,000-square-foot third floor of the Manhattan flagship has been completely remodeled with 22 hard shops, 49 designer labels in total and an expanded Fifth Avenue Club with 18 ???suites,??? a kitchen for serving lunch, a VIP room and Josie Natori-designed changing robes.
With Rube Goldberg-esque complexity, the floor required a year of negotiations with designers on location and adjacencies, and then another year for construction. The result: Rather than the usual run-up of shops, there??™s a sense of discovery, since just about every designer created something unique for Saks.
The floor, which happens to be the nation??™s largest for designers, was conceived with the help of architecture firm Mancini Duffy and is adorned with Tibetan rugs, decorative laser-cut or carved-glass panels and a mix of floor coverings ??” from travertine marble to distressed wood and carpeting. There are also gold-leaf-gilded screens and bronze chandeliers in the form of weeping cherry trees, both created by Michele Oka Doner; copper arm chairs by Stephanie Odegard, and a chrome yellow table from India Mahdavi.
There??™s a greater sense of openness, achieved by three wide aisles instead of having one main one previously, removing the walls, which encased the escalators, and the ceiling variations ??” in some shops, such as Akris, they seem like floating canopies. The wrap desks are concealed from public view, and there are 32 dress styles being displayed, which were all created exclusively by designers to mark the launch.
???If you are buying designer, this is what you deserve,??? said Joseph Boitano, Saks??™ group senior vice president and general merchandise manager of women??™s.
On Sept. 9, Saks and Charlize Theron will host a dinner party for 150 designers, fashion press and others. A 16-page insert featuring Stella Tennant photographed by Bruce Weber is in the September Vogue and will run in The New York Times.
The timing of the new floor has some irony considering the difficult economy and the fact that Saks has been aggressively cutting expenses in response to difficulty selling designer merchandise and other categories. But vendors contributed substantially to the cost involved in creating the floor, and Saks hopes the investment lifts the floor??™s productivity next year to more than $3,000 in sales per square foot from the current $2,700 to $2,800. Only the main floor for cosmetics, designer handbags and fine jewelry is more productive.
???This is a major investment for its future,??? said Ron Frasch, Saks president and chief merchandising officer. ???We??™ve built something that we expect to be here for a very long time. It??™s modern and classic.??? However, Frasch did acknowledge: ???The designer business has been challenging.???
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MOUSE MUSINGS: Jil Sander isn??™t the only one joining forces with Uniqlo these days. Mickey Mouse is also linking with the Japanese brand. The casual apparel firm, owned by Fast Retailing Co. Ltd., said Tuesday it has reached a licensing agreement with the consumer products division of The Walt Disney Company to roll out a line of Disney-themed apparel at its stores next month. Details of the project will be released next week.
–Nikki Cho Russo
Tags: Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Saks Fifth Avenue, Uniqlo, WWD