Retailers, consumers and prices
Apparently not Chico’s FAS. The mature women’s chain, which operates Chico’s, White House/Black Market and Soma Intimates chains, has made major strides in making its merchandise more fashionable in the past year, and has been rewarded with stellar results in the third quarter and shares that are up eightfold in the last year.
The move towards trendier– dare we say, sexier – clothes helped sales this autumn rise 13.3 percent and allowed the chain to win market share while rivals such as Talbots and Clearwater Coldwater Creek continued to struggle. (A year and a half ago, U.S. gold medalist Michael Phelps’ mother Debbie boasted that her Olympics’ wardrobe at the Beijing Games came from Chico’s.)
Chico’s took advantage of Vogue editor Anna Wintour’s glamorous “Fashion Night Out” this fall to open a store in Manhattan’s SoHo district. And last year, the chain won national attention in 2008 when First Lady Michelle Obama wore a dress from a White House/Black Market store during on an appearance on the talk show “The View.”
The firm is apparently not done with its makeover: it is planning to open about 40 new locations of its lingerie chain Soma Intimates in 2010 and offer more risqué items, Chief Executive Officer David Dyer hinted on a call to analysts on Wednesday.
Rodarte’s Spring 2009 collection debuted Tuesday in New York.
Created by sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy, Rodarte is a current darling of the fashion world, drawing the famous and fabulous.
Spotted in attendance were Andre Leon Talley, Diane Von Furstenberg, Tobey Maguire , Natalie Portman, Vanity Fair‘s Michael Roberts, Barney’s Simon Doonan with a bag emblazoned with “S.D.”, and many others who looked vaguely familiar. And if the blond bob and huge black sunglases were any indication, Anna Wintour.
The theme was “Beautiful Androids,” according to a sign backstage, and pale and leggy models walked the runway with hair pulled tightly back into a bun covered with foil. Dresses were made of beige, orange, black and blue sheer, some of them a bith gothy, many leather cut-out leggings, and one or two black leather jackets that looked wearable.
Almost as interesting was the hobnob before the show, with photographers running around snapping shots of important people, ladies wearing wonderfully impractical heels, several men rocking the short pants and shoes with no socks look, and a lot of kissing of both cheeks followed by French salutations.