32 posts tagged "Uniqlo"
After yesterday’s announcement that longtime designer Raf Simons would leave Jil Sander after the Fall ’12 women’s show, the house announced today that its founder and namesake (left) will return to the label as creative director. “I am very happy and excited to be back,” Sander said in a statement. “It feels like coming home after a brief journey. The Jil Sander brand is ingrained in my very being, naturally, my vision of sophisticated, truly modern design stayed with me, as vivid as on the first day. Paradigms change and evolve from season to season, but the heart of a brand doesn’t alter. It will be a great challenge and a greater joy to design Jil Sander’s contemporary identity. I am convinced that the moment is as favorable as could be wished. The fashion world needs original voices and genuine signatures. I will do my best to, once again, join the choir.”
Most recently, Sander had worked with the Japan-based retailer Uniqlo on +J, her own line of fast-fashion men’s and womenswear. Uniqlo announced last June that its three year partnership with the designer was at an end and that the current collection of +J would be Sander’s last.
At least one company is feeling bullish about the American market. Uniqlo, the Japanese retailer with a store currently in Soho, is opening its largest flagship yet, a vast 89,000-square-foot space at 53rd Street and Fifth Avenue. Come Friday, when the sleek glass doors are open to the public, expect crowds to mob the store for the $9.90 Japanese denim opening special or the super-lightweight down jackets (currently a best seller at the Soho branch).
But this morning, as Style.com did a preview walk-through with Uniqlo’s U.S. chief operating officer Yasunobu Kyogoku, the store was a sun-filled oasis of glass and steel. The retail experience opened with a cathedral ceiling with three banks of escalators leading to the third floor. There were colorful cashmere sweaters lining the walls, but no racks, which translated to an open feel.
“We wanted to give the customer a feeling of zen when they step in,” Kyogoku explained. From there, the retail experience—usually with most of the products at street level—was in reverse. The third floor was where the bulk of the merchandise was, including the first ever Uniqlo Innovation Project section: an athletic-meets-sportswear collection made with specially commissioned materials by Toray, a Japanese company that’s known for making the fuselages of Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner. Around the bend was the mirrored tunnel of Heattech; the successful thermal line has expanded since hauling in 80 million units last year.
Fashion-forward shoppers will find the best wares on the second floor, where the first delivery of the J+ fall collection, designed by Jil Sander, hung pristine on the racks. It’s the last collection with Sander, but there’s more to look forward to. Uniqlo is following up Sander’s much-lauded collaboration with a collection by Undercover’s Jun Takahashi next spring. Plus, the retailer has ambitious plans for expansion. Along with a store on 34th Street opening a week later on October 21, Uniqlo is currently hunting for real estate in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Boston. “There’s nothing to announce yet,” Kyogoku hedged. Although he added, “The chairman said the goal is to hit $10 billion in U.S. sales by 2020.”
Mugler creative director and Lady Gaga stylist Nicola Formichetti has had a big past couple of days. Last week, he set up shop downtown with his pop-up concept store, Nicola’s; yesterday, he hosted a presentation for nine emerging Chinese designers in an effort to celebrate international talent; this afternoon, Formichetti (who has worked with Uniqlo for over five years and currently stands as the brand’s fashion director) debuts his latest project for the Japanese retailer. He has created a new line, called Uniqlo Innovation Project, along with the company’s designer director, Naoki Takizawa, and creative director, Kashiwa Sato.
“We wanted to create something for the future,” Formichetti tells Style.com. “Something functional, stylish, and new.” The collection of parkas, hoodies, and track pants for men and women, made of cutting-edge materials like Uniqlo’s infamous Heattech, hits stores October 14.
What’s next from Nicola? “I’m actually thinking of bringing Nicola’s to other cities,” he says. “I loved meeting my virtual friends, but in a physical space this time.” Oh yes, and there’s the Mugler collection he’s hard at work on, which hits the runway in Paris September 29. Here, Style.com has the exclusive first look at Innovation Project.
Winehouse Collection Continues, Nemcova Reveals Her Wedding Dress Designer, Richard Nicoll Teams With Technology, And More…
Amy Winehouse’s collections for Fred Perry will continue, WWD reported today. When the singer died last month, Fred Perry hit the “pause” button on the collection, but the Winehouse family would like the remaining two collections she created to be released. [WWD]
Model Petra Nemcova isn’t keeping her wedding dress designer a secret. The bride-to-be, who will marry actor Jamie Belman next June, revealed she will walk down the aisle in Marchesa. [Vogue U.K.]
Uniqlo has partnered with Barbie and Disney, and now the Japanese retailer has joined forces with another all-American brand: Coca-Cola. For their eighth annual UT Grand Prix, contestants can create T-shirt designs inspired by Coke for a winning prize of $10,000. The top ten designs will be sold in Uniqlo stores worldwide this fall. [Hint]
London-based designer Richard Nicoll is on call with Vodafone. The cell phone company will sponsor his next two runway shows, and they are collaborating on a new accessory that “fuses technology and cutting edge design.” [WWD]
Uniqlo, like its fellow fast-fashion megaliths H&M and Target, has a long history of collaborating with designers; its Designer Invitation Project brings together wide-ranging talents together under one umbrella label. The latest additions to the Japanese retailer’s guest-star roster are Charlotte Ronson, Vena Cava, and Costello Tagliapietra, whose six-piece capsules debut this Spring.
For Ronson’s line, the New York-based designer told Style.com she was thinking of seaside retreats. The summer dresses, in nautical stripe and floral prints, have “lots of coastal countryside influences and nautical elements,” Ronson said. “They’re relaxed, easy to wear, sort of fun and flirty.” Her personal favorite is the lace-up tank dress at left. It goes on sale at all Uniqlo locations this May, along with a three-quarter-sleeve drawstring-waist dress, a sailboat-print halter top, and a casual T-shirt dress with a henley front, all priced at $29.50 each.