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News Bites | Calvin Klein Hires Luella Bartley, Lyst Links with Vestiaire Collective and More...

In today's News Bites, Calvin Klein appoints Luella Bartley to tackle denim, Lyst links with Vestiaire Collective, Grailed gears up for womenswear and Want Les Essentiels opens another Apothecary.
Raf Simons' first underwear and denim campaign for Calvin Klein | Source: Courtesy
  • BoF Team

Luella Bartley has been appointed head of global design for Calvin Klein Jeans, reporting to Raf Simons' right hand Pieter Mulier.

British fashion designer Luella Bartley has been appointed the head of global design for Calvin Klein Jeans. In her new role, Bartley will report to Pieter Mulier, creative director of Calvin Klein and right hand of chief creative officer Raf Simons, and Franck Belochi, president of Calvin Klein Jeans Europe.

Bartley's appointment comes at a time of transformation for the iconic brand, whose creative strategy is now being led by Simons. The Belgian designer joined Calvin Klein in August and debuted his first collection for the brand in February to industry acclaim.

Some have wondered how Simons, a conceptual European designer, would translate his vision for the needs of a multi-tiered, multi-billion-dollar American brand like Calvin Klein, which generates a large chunk of its revenues from fragrance, underwear and denim. Simons' first advertising campaign for Calvin Klein's jeans and underwear lines, featuring models posed in front of contemporary art (see above), was certainly a departure from the sex-infused marketing that has previously earned Calvin Klein mass appeal.

Surely, helping to translate Simons' design vision for a broader audience will be an important part of Bartley's brief. The designer was previously head of women's ready-to-wear at Marc Jacobs diffusion line Marc by Marc Jacobs, which was rolled up into the brand's mainline in 2015. Bartley is also a co-founder of ready-to-wear and accessories brand Hillier Bartley and managed her own namesake label Luella for more than 10 years. — Limei Hoang

Lyst Partners with Vestiaire Collective to sell pre-owned fashion for first time.

Fashion aggregator Lyst has partnered with luxury "re-commerce" site Vestiaire Collective to make pre-owned fashion available on its platform for the first time. The company said strong demand for luxury brands like Chanel, which has limited online distribution and was therefore missing from Lyst's platform, drove the decision.

“It was about bringing brands online that were not available online for my customer,” said Jenny Cossons, head of partnerships at Lyst. “So thinking about Chanel and Céline and just making sure that those brands that are not currently easy to obtain online, that I can make it available to users," she continued. "Vestiaire has really redefined what pre-owned looks like."

"Vestiaire Collective is excited to be partnering with Lyst to offer their customers access to the best pre-owned luxury pieces," said a spokesperson for the company. "Together we have curated an edit of brands that will appeal to the Lyst customer and we are proud to be opening up Vestiaire Collective to a new audience." Vestiaire Collective is currently locked in a battle with The RealReal in the large but challenging luxury resale market. — Limei Hoang

Grailed, the market for cult second-hand men’s fashion, is set to launch women’s in summer 2017.

The second-hand marketplace for cult men's fashion items — from Supreme box-logo tees to Visvim moccasins — might be the most intensely competitive in the world, thanks to sky-high demand and short supply. So it's no surprise that peer-to-peer e-commerce site Grailed — a kind of fashionable, hyper-specific eBay — has developed a fast following among collectors and other men's fashion obsessives looking to score everything from a pair of recently dropped limited-edition Nike Lab x Comme des Garçons Dunks to a $16,200 Peter Saville parka from Raf Simons' Autumn/Winter 2003 "Closer" collection.

Now Grailed, which was founded in early 2014 by serial entrepreneur Arun Gupta, is setting its sights on the women's market. Set to launch in early summer 2017, the company's yet-to-be named sister site will be similar in spirit. While Grailed is a peer-to-peer service, the site is tightly curated, meaning the team evaluates every item posted to the site. Items are categorised as "Grailed" (upscale, rare finds), "Hype" (new releases and streetwear) and "Basics" (mass-market and vintage).

"We built Grailed for enthusiasts, by enthusiasts, and want to do the same for our women's marketplace," explains Kristen Dempsey, a Dover Street Market veteran who is the new site's brand director. "Early on, we will be seeding the women's marketplace with these enthusiasts, who will populate it with high-end items akin to Grailed."

To be sure, the second-hand market for women's fashion is vastly different to men's, with a larger breadth of brands, a deeper well of supply and a different shopping rhythm. What's more, the market is dominated by well capitalised, built-to-scale marketplaces like The RealReal and Vestiaire Collective.

But Dempsey believes the company's specific point of view will attract an underserved customer looking for hard-to-find labels like Undercover, Elena Dawson and Paul Harden. "It will be niche, very specific brands that are hard to get a hold of," she explains. "Highly collectible items will become more accessible." — Lauren Sherman

Want Les Essentiels to open Apothecary retail concept in New York’s NoMad Hotel.

"At the end of the day, we think of our brand as a solutions company," said Byron Peart, co-founder of Want Les Essentiels, the leather accessories brand he designs with brother Dexter Peart and which the two founded with Mark Wiltzer and Jacqueline Gelber in 2006. In March, the Montreal-based company is opening the fourth location of Want Apothecary, its multi-brand retail concept, inside The NoMad Hotel in New York City. The new store — the company's first in the US — will stock in-house label Want Les Essentiels, as well as Acne Studios, Jil Sander, M. Martin and others. Critically, like existing Want Apothecary stores, the location will host a modern apothecary-like counter featuring niche beauty and fragrance brands.

While Want Les Essentiels, sold via 80 stockists and a mono-brand store in New York's West Village, currently accounts for more than half of the overall business, the Peart brothers see growth potential in their Apothecary concept, which targets travelers. "Whether it's men's, women's, young or old, we see an opportunity — especially as there is more and more interest in travel — to have needs for these kind of travel solutions that we are creating, that are super well made and at a commercial price point," explained Dexter Peart. Another Want Apothecary is set to open in Toronto in April. — Chantal Fernandez

Raf Simons tweaks Calvin Klein's red carpet strategy.

Raf Simons' fingerprint is making its way onto every corner of of the Calvin Klein marketing plan.

At Sunday's 89th Academy Awards, the brand's chief creative officer took what appeared to be a more considered approach to the red carpet, dressing four members of the cast of "Moonlight," including best-supporting actress nominee Naomie Harris — who wore a jagged-edge white-sequined strapless dress with a trailing cape. Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders and Alex R. Hibbert — who played the same character at three different moments in his life — also wore Calvin Klein.

“I was honored to be able to work with the cast of 'Moonlight' and to celebrate the incredible talent of each of these actors and the amazing body of work that the film represents," Simons said in a statement.

While Calvin Klein has long been a popular red carpet choice, Simons is creating more context by associating the brand with a particular sort of film whose emotionally charged, issue-driven plot made it the season's critical darling. In a small, but significant way, this helps to change, and perhaps elevate, the conversation around the red carpet. An interesting move on Simons' part, especially if it continues on into future awards seasons. — Lauren Sherman

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