As one of first shows of Paris Fashion Week, See by Chloe, was live streamed on the Internet for all to see as its mainstream line, Chloe had its usual and much anticipated catwalk slot. But as the lower line, which if general consensus istaken into account, is not just viewed as a subsidiary to Chloe but a lagging lightweight, calls into question the role of the second line, which this season are coming more into the fore, and how they can best be placed in the market.
Things have changed as London Fashion Week illustrated; The full-blown show staged in London this season for McQ for Alexander McQueen had top models, a dramatic set and the chief executive of its parent company, PPR, François-Henri Pinault, front row.
Geoffroy de la Bourdonnaye, chief executive of Chloé, has made big steps since he joined the company two years to refocus the See by Chloe line and pull it up to standards; aiming it at a younger market who can get instant gratification by buying a designer piece without making a big investment. And in Japan sales are soaring, with equal figures between the main and lower line.
So it seems Parisian fashion insiders might have to change their prejudices; after all if consumers are keen to buy into something more affordable and accessible, why not supply it?
Other ways to corner this market without making the secondary line into a low level affair are to look at the lower line as a completely different brand aka Miu Miu and Marc by Marc Jacobs.
But cautions have arisen across Milan as Dolce and Gabbana have folded their diffusion, D&G – a line which had the same image but was just less expensive.
For Lola Burstein, who is based in New York, her mission is to bring to a new generation the Rykiel brand’s energy and style via the Sonia By Sonia Rykiel line. She says, “It may be less expensive, but really it is about quality and identity,” she says. “‘Sonia By’ is much more playful and preppy. It’s the cute side of Rykiel. But it has the spirit of a great brand — it is not H&M. And maybe it is relevant to the American market with the current economy.”
With high end streets in fashion capitals overtaken with big brand names, where best can these lower line names sit? Currently the internet seems to be the best answer, where they keep coming up as affordable and appealing options.
Image: See by chloe A/W 12