Ready-to-Wear

Italian Emerging Brand Abse-èl Beefs Up Distribution, Beauty Offering

Italian Emerging Brand Abse-èl Beefs Up Distribution, Beauty Offering

MILAN — Italian emerging brand Abse-èl is marking its sophomore year with ambitious plans, including an expansion of both distribution and offering.The brainchild of Italian creatives Davide Mattiucci, Giuseppe Di Bartolomeo and Ludovica Barlafante, the label has garnered attention for its fresh mix of ready-to-wear, accessories and beauty products — a powerful trifecta that mirrors the professional experiences of each of its founders.
Mattiucci is a fashion designer who worked for 12 years at Blumarine; Di Bartolomeo has extensive experience in accessories design, and Barlafante is a well-known makeup artist.
The trio decided to join forces to launch a contemporary brand that instead of focusing on a progressive brand extension, could immediately express a uniform message of femininity — the name of the brand is a play on the words “absolute” and “elle” — through their individual skills.

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Debuted last year with the spring 2022 collection, the label is distributed by Milan-based showroom Studio Zeta, which is helping the brand to boost its international footprint.

A look from the Abse-èl spring 2022 collection.
Courtesy of Abse-èl

Already available at retailers in Milan, Naples, Venice, Capri, Moscow and Ibiza — where the company is also eyeing the opening of a pop-up store for the summer season — with the fall 2022 collection the indie brand doubled its doors to reach 20 retailers — including new ones in Russia despite the ongoing war in Ukraine.
But, given the conflict with Ukraine, the company is now focusing on Asia, where the label is resonating with consumers, especially with Chinese buyers. To further build on this interest, the company plans a sales campaign in Shanghai, with the goal to enter the market with the fall collection and consolidate its presence with the spring 2023 season.
“Our product is very much in tune with the Asian market not only for its shapes, but the element that is getting most of the positive feedback is the strength of the colors in our collections,” Mattiucci said.
Through a key focus on knitted pieces that guarantee body-con silhouettes, enhanced by cropped lengths and cutouts, the apparel range embraces a palette spanning from white and black to vibrant tones of fuchsia, lime, turquoise and yellow. Accessories add to the chromatic sensibility through geometric handbags and belt bags in metallic and mirrored effects.

The Abse-èl fall 2022 collection.
Courtesy of Abse-èl

The label’s graphic, minimal logo intertwining two Ls to create a rectangular shape further contributes to the colorful vibe, as it is often introduced in contrasting tones.
The logo also appears as a metal buckle on bags and on the silver packaging of the beauty range, which for the moment includes only lipsticks in three shades.
Distribution of all three categories has been the same, but Mattiucci said the company plans to tweak that strategy to enable the beauty part to expand in perfumeries as well as in other markets. For instance, he noticed that this category is driving consumer interest in the Middle East.

The Abse-èl lipstics.
Courtesy of Abse-èl

In sync with this vision, the brand is working to significantly beef up the cosmetics collection with other makeup products and a fragrance, with the ultimate goal of better competing in perfumeries and enhancing its presence on store shelves.

“The idea is to be ready with the full range for Christmas and the holiday season,” Mattiucci said.
Meanwhile, Abse-èl is to launch its online store at the end of the month, which will showcase all product categories. While lipsticks retail at 30 euros, the brand’s rtw is priced between 300 euros and 690 euros. As for accessories, the average price for bags ranges from 480 euros to 550 euros, while footwear retails for 350 euros to 700 euros for next season’s over-the-knee boots.

A look from the Abse-èl fall 2022 collection.
Courtesy of Abse-èl

The 12 Best Looks From Lebanese Designer Rabih Kayrouz’s Fall 2022 Collection

The 12 Best Looks From Lebanese Designer Rabih Kayrouz’s Fall 2022 Collection

Photo: Mathieu Maury
“Moved by her past, inspired by her future, and embracing the present,” is how Lebanese designer Rabih Kayrouz describes the wearer of his latest designs. In the lookbook, this is represented by the models who are almost cloaked in darkness as they step into the light.

Unveiled at a Rive Droite apartment alongside Paris couture week, the 38-piece Maison Rabih Kayrouz Fall 2022 Ready-to-Wear collection puts strong tailoring at its core through the use of the right fabric and construction. “Sharp, uncompromising cuts” are made to materials like vinyl and thick jersey to make structured dresses, jackets, and coats. In a display of skilled construction, the designer did away with padding, instead sculpting curves and creating volume by pattern-making. One of the gowns uses rope of varying lengths stitched in rings between layers of tulle to create a couture-like shape, while seams are rendered to the front, back, and sleeves of jackets to elevate them to an architectural form. Pieces range from daywear to eveningwear, in a neutral-heavy color palette with pops of bright orange and the shades of poppy and marigold mirrored in a floral print.
Take a look at the best pieces from the Maison Rabih Kayrouz Fall 2022 Ready-to-Wear collection below.
Photo: Mathieu Maury
Photo: Mathieu Maury
Photo: Mathieu Maury
Photo: Mathieu Maury
Photo: Mathieu Maury
Photo: Mathieu Maury
Photo: Mathieu Maury
Photo: Mathieu Maury
Photo: Mathieu Maury
Photo: Mathieu Maury
Photo: Mathieu Maury
Photo: Mathieu Maury
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American Heritage Brand Seafarer Makes Comeback

American Heritage Brand Seafarer Makes Comeback

MILAN — Four years after Manuela Mariotti left the role of creative director of Dondup, which she cofounded in 1999 with her husband and business partner Massimo Berloni, she is making a comeback at the creative helm of Seafarer.The American heritage brand, which was established in a small tailor’s shop in Brooklyn in 1896 and became popular in the ’70s among celebrities of the time, including Jane Birkin and Brigitte Bardot, is the first project of a new creative hub established by Berloni and Mariotti, along with business partners Franco Stocchi and Enrico Catani.
“We established Academy with the goal of developing brands and products in a very organic way, enhancing people’s value,” said Berloni, adding that Academy will support emerging talents, creating an ecosystem of brands focused on different product categories.

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Seafarer, which Academy acquired by Brand Cube Srl and Seafarer LLC America, made a comeback in-store with the fall 2021 season, even if the official relaunch will actually start with the spring 2022 season that was presented to press and buyers during the past Milan Fashion Week in September.

Manuela Mariotti and Massimo Berloni
Courtesy of Academy

“We started very cautiously, but the first results were very positive. We don’t expect to make big volumes, but in this phase, we are very attentive to the quality of the stores that approach our brand,” said Berloni, adding that with the sales campaign for the next two seasons the company expects to generate revenues of between 5 million and 6 million euros. Currently, Seafarer makes between 60 and 65 percent of its business in Italy, while the remaining percentage of sales is generated in Europe, with a focus on France, Benelux and German.
Fashion-wise, Mariotti went through archival images for the relaunch of the brand, especially focusing the flower power generations who wore the brand’s jeans and jackets. “I like that the brand has been so strong in that period of freedom and change,” the designer said. “Starting from those images, I brought back some iconic pieces that I interpreted in a more contemporary key, mixing references to the French and Italian style.”
As Mariotti stressed, the Seafarer collections are entirely crafted in Italy in laboratories mainly located in the Marche region, where Mariotti and Berloni live. “One of my dreams with Academy is to exalt the craftsmanship of all these artisans creating mini collections that can be part of the ideal luggage of the Seafarer global traveler,” Mariotti said.
Seafarer, whose retail prices range from 200 euros to 400 euros for pants, and from 500 euros to 1,200 euros for jackets, is also relaunching the brand’s line dedicated to men. “We are doing things step by step, but we see great potential in this segment,” Mariotti added.
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Max Mara’s Omnichannel Retail Director on Itinerant Resort Shows, Potential of Europe

Max Mara’s Omnichannel Retail Director on Itinerant Resort Shows, Potential of Europe

ISCHIA, Italy — After the COVID-19 pandemic, a resort show can help draw attention to Made in Italy production, boost tourism and signal a relaunch, said Maria Giulia Prezioso Maramotti Germanetti, omnichannel retail director of the Max Mara Fashion Group and the company’s global brand ambassador.
Speaking ahead of the Max Mara resort 2022 show on the island of Ischia on Tuesday, Prezioso Maramotti Germanetti was clearly proud to be “launching a beautiful message” that emphasized Italian cultural and the brand’s natural patrimony. “This is a project that is really dear to me,” she said.
Opening up to live events, while still being mindful of restrictions to help curb the spread of the virus, is a sign of rebirth, she noted. While the number of guests was restricted to 80 and the show was to be held in the open air, she said several foreign editors were expected from the U.S., Russia, France, Germany, Greece, The Netherlands and a group of Chinese living in Europe.

While admitting the Asian market, and China in particular, are key regions for Max Mara, like for many luxury brands, Prezioso Maramotti Germanetti said she believes there will be a recovery of the West, “a pole of attraction,” and that tourists will soon return to “beautiful Europe.”
Previously, starting with the 2015 pre-fall season, the Italian women’s fashion group staged runway shows in New York, London, Shanghai, Reggio Emilia — where it is headquartered — and Berlin. Last year, it was supposed to hold its resort show in St. Petersburg but was forced to cancel those plans due to the health emergency. Asked about the importance of these itinerant shows, Prezioso Maramotti Germanetti said they help present “layers of content,” although “each brand has its own strategy and voice.” Milan Fashion Week also remains key, she pointed out.

Itinerant resort shows are clearly a strong communications tool, and in the case of Max Mara, which this year celebrates its 70th anniversary and is a business anchored in ready-to-wear, they are even more important, she believes. However, she strongly cautioned against thinking in terms of figures and sales alone, stressing that projects must always be “organic.”
She underscored that product is always the starting point in any communication, “leading inspiration and content,” and that, not only is consistency a must through “clarity of the channels and platforms,” but it is imperative to “always have your consumer in mind, you cannot be self-referential.”
This consistency is exemplified by the film of the show, which will be directed by Ginevra Elkann and be available on Thursday. The movie director debuted with “Magari,” released in 2019, studied at the London Film School and has worked with Anthony Minghella and Bernardo Bertolucci. “She is a woman, a director, Italian and, coming full circle, she is also the granddaughter of Marella Agnelli,” one of Truman Capote’s famed Swans that inspired creative director Ian Griffiths for the resort collection.
The Max Mara group, with 2020 sales of 1.2 billion euros, has a network of 2,500 stores in more than 100 countries and Prezioso Maramotti Germanetti said the Milan flagship is undergoing a renovation, as are other units in the world. “We never really stopped retouching them,” she offered. The Milan boutique was modeled after a 10-year old blueprint, so that it was necessary to “change the materials and it’s lighter and we’ve added two works of art from the Collezione Maramotti,” the family’s art museum. Additional details will be unwrapped this fall, she said, demurring to reveal additional details of the changes.

“The pandemic taught us that the store offers a moment of experience and not a need. Now, you want to return to dining out at restaurants not because you have not eaten during the lockdown, but you want to enjoy that experience and it’s the same for shopping,” she contended. “I have never ruled out one or another distribution platforms.”

Ecoalf Introduces Its Most Sustainable Line Yet

Ecoalf Introduces Its Most Sustainable Line Yet

MILAN — Ecoalf’s mission to increase its sustainability is reaching new heights with the introduction of its premium line Ecoalf 1.0.
The Spanish brand known for its holistic approach to green fashion is introducing the line from fall 2021 as a laboratory for its most innovative eco-friendly solutions.
“It was about time to launch this line. My dream since the beginning was to create a premium sustainable collection taking sustainability to the maximum level. That’s how I envisioned 1.0, which is the result of 10 years of R&D,” brand founder and president Javier Goyeneche told WWD. The line is named after the brand’s trademarked moniker, which was only used internally.

Comprising men’s and women’s apparel and accessories with a minimal and clean bent, it highlights several fabrics that are exclusive to the line and were never employed before by Ecoalf, such as Kapok, a natural cellulose fiber sourced from the dried fruits of the kapok tree, which provides a soft and silky textile; vegan leather, made from bio-based vegetable oil and grape waste, as well as plant-based polymers Sorona by DuPont and Solotex.

A look from the Ecoalf 1.0 women’s fall 2021 collection. 
Courtesy of Ecoalf.

The line also expands Ecoalf’s signature Ocean Yarn to ready-to-wear and bags after it had been largely tested and tried on footwear for the main collection. The yarn is spun from recycled plastic bottles collected from the bottom of the oceans through their “Upcycling the Oceans” project carried out through a foundation established in 2015.

It includes common green textiles such as recycled cotton, which saves 1,466 liters of water and 5 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions. Since its founding in 2009, the company has amassed 520 eco-friendly fabrics to rely on.
“We are trying to prove that we can have a premium sustainable brand in terms of materials, the way we design and the philosophy behind it,” which includes avoiding overproduction and strict discounting policies, said Goyeneche.
In sync with the investments it required, the Ecoalf 1.0 range is 30 to 50 percent more expensive than the brand’s regular products, with a price tag that spans from 60 euros for T-shirts to 700 euros for outerwear.
“We don’t want to have any limit because we want to explore new fabrics, for example for next season [spring 2022] we’ll be launching a new filament which doesn’t throw any microfibers back to the environment when you wash it. It’s a recycled nylon made from retrieved airbags, releasing 0.02 microfiber per wash, which is barely nothing,” Goyeneche explained.
All the company’s products are equipped with QR-based smart tags that allow customers to discover key information about manufacturing and sourcing across the people, environment and traceability indicators and this tool will be implemented across the Ecoalf 1.0 range, too.
The company has planned a distribution strategy for the 1.0 line, which is set to be distributed through a small number of international premium retailers, potentially opening up the brand to a customer base. There will be around 20 stores across Spain, Germany and Japan carrying the fall 2021 collection.
Touting the slow but steady strategy, Goyeneche noted that “for a lot of consumers the pandemic showed in a way that we need to start reacting and we need to redefine the business model to find a balance between the planet’s health and future and current needs and that’s obvious for many people that we have a responsibility now and an opportunity to redefine many things, not only in the fashion business which is a polluting industry but also at large.”

According to Goyeneche, this explains the brand’s resilience during the pandemic. Sales in 2020 increased 78.5 percent to 25 million euros, versus 14 million euros in 2019. The brand counts flagships in Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin and Tokyo and it is gearing up to unveil a Paris door on Rue du Temple at the end of August.

A look from the Ecoalf 1.0 men’s fall 2021 collection. 
Courtesy of Ecoalf.

Founded in 2009, the company applied and received the B Corp certification in 2018 and has undergone its second review and assessment, managing to improve its score by 28 points surpassing the 100 points threshold.

How You Can Now Shop Elie Saab’s Luxury Collections on Amazon

How You Can Now Shop Elie Saab’s Luxury Collections on Amazon

Elie Saab Spring 2021 Ready-to-Wear collection. Photo: Courtesy of Elie Saab

Lebanese couturier Elie Saab is further expanding in the US market with his designs now available to shop on Amazon’s new high-fashion platform, Luxury Stores, via the e-tailer’s app.
Saab’s creations are adored across the world, becoming a red carpet favorite among Hollywood and regional stars alike, with fans including Jennifer Lopez, Angelina Jolie and Nancy Ajram. Now the label’s fall/winter ready-to-wear 2020 line will be available for fans to buy on Amazon’s new platform, which launched in September as a rival to luxury retailers including Net-a-Porter and Farfetch.

The Lebanese fashion house turned to Instagram to announce its partnership with Luxury Stores at Amazon. The brand wrote: “ELIE SAAB is proud to announce its collaborative partnership with Luxury Stores at Amazon. Discover pieces from our Ready-to-Wear Fall Winter 2020 collection available for exclusive purchase through the Amazon luxury stores App #ELIESAAB”
The new partnership is a part of Elie Saab’s increasing digital offerings, with the brand’s chief executive, Elie Saab Jr, explaining, “Joining forces with Amazon is a step forward in Elie Saab’s business strategy, to strengthen its existence in the US market through a new widespread e-commerce presence, while also reaching a new generation of luxury shoppers.”
Luxury Stores sets its self apart from Amazon’s main site, with users being exclusively invited to shop on the app. However, users can also request access on the portal’s website. Other major designers available on the platform include, Oscar de la Renta and Roland Mouret, in addition to luxe beauty brands such as La Mer and Cle de Peau Beaute. Unfortunately, only US customers currently have access to shopping online with Luxury Stores.
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