Aubade launches Elie Saab collaboration, targets US market in 2023
After joining forces with Viktor & Rolf, Karl Lagerfeld and Iris Van Herpen, French lingerie label Aubade, owned by Swiss group Calida, is developing a fourth collaboration with a luxury label, going beyond underwear into something more sophisticated. Aubade has in fact teamed up with haute couture label Elie Saab, founded by the eponymous Lebanese designer in 1982, to jointly design a lingerie and nightwear capsule collection.
Elie Saab’s feel for luxury materials and sophisticated textures is infused in the My Desire lingerie collection and the Whimsical Affair nightwear line. Both suggest an enticing, glam mood thanks to their sculpted details steeped in glittering gold lurex embroidery, contrasting with transparent tulle fabric to generate sheer and veiled sensual effects. The Aubade X Elie Saab collaboration is rich in appliqué and golden details, and uses black silk satin for its nightwear items, celebrating the fascination with the female body.
The 17-item capsule collection includes a triangular underwire-free bralette, a triangular underwired bra, a balconette bra, a padded bra and a corset, which can all be matched with thongs, Brazilian briefs, French knickers and Saint-Tropez lace culottes. The lingerie line also features several garters and two bodysuits, while the nightwear line includes a tank top, a dressing gown, a pair of shorts, a pair of long silk trousers and a flowing kimono.
The Elie Saab x Aubade collection will be available in-store from July 2023 in two colourways (Naughty Black, in black with golden accents on transparent tulle, and Love Affair, in nude and pink), and will be commercialised via Aubade stores and select multibrand retailers, and on Aubade’s and various multibrand e-shops.
The Elie Saab partnership's launch in the run up to Christmas was the opportunity for FashionNetwork.com to ask Philippe Bernaud, managing director of the Parisian label, founded in 1958 and synonymous with French-style femininity, about Aubade's latest results and future plans.
“In 2022, Aubade focused on its existing markets, chiefly in Europe, and in 2023 our target markets will remain primarily Germany and the UK, while we’ll maintain a strong presence in France. But we are aiming to expand vigorously on the US market in 2023. In January, we will open a subsidiary there, and have recruited new staff on-site,” said Bernaud, adding that next year Aubade will open “between two and five new retail outlets, between stores, corners and shop-in-shops.”
Aubade operates 54 directly owned monobrand stores in France and four abroad (in Geneva, Zurich, Brussels and Munich), and is also available at more than 1,500 independent multibrand retailers, in France and elsewhere.
In 2021, the company generated a revenue of €67 million, with a respectable increase over 2020, and is expected to grow further by the end of 2022, thanks to its “robust omni-channel strategy, premium customer experience and the unique attraction of the chic French lifestyle it embodies. A solid foundation for our label’s future growth,” said Bernaud, adding that most of Aubade's sales are still generated in France, even though “the share of sales produced internationally is increasing every year.”
Aubade's e-tail revenue is constantly growing, the label currently serving over 70 countries. “For the year-end festivities, we have extended the in-store appointment booking service available on our website. Our lingerie experts will welcome customers in-store so that they can benefit from personalised advice on lingerie styles, measurements and more,” said Bernaud. Aubade's owner Calida has recently acquired Italian-American underwear brand Cosabella, strengthening its position in its core business and heralding next year’s focus on the USA.
The operation is also providing an opportunity for synergies with Aubade. “We are working closely with Cosabella to expand the brand on the US market, notably developing the wholesale channel and launching a dedicated e-tail site. Our new US subsidiary’s staff will welcome local clients at the Curve show in New York in February,” said Bernaud.
Bernaud underlined how Aubade is focused on sustainability. “Product quality and durability have always been at the heart of our brand values. The choice of materiel is crucial for us. Most of our fabrics are Oeko-Tex-certified and therefore checked at every stage of the manufacturing process,” said Bernaud, adding that Aubade regularly monitors raw materials provenance, checks its suppliers’ ethical standards and, with the exception of silk, doesn’t use any material of animal origin, while also refraining as far as possible from resorting to outside contractors to manufacture its products.
Aubade is regularly using recycled fibres, polyamide yarn made from fabric offcuts, and embroidery made with polyester derived from reclaimed plastic bottles to manufacture its collections. In the Spring/Summer 2023 collection, the label introduced a new white hue for the Lovessence line, and a new aloe-coloured hue for the Softessence line, both made from recycled materials. “Our Valentine's Day 2023 line, Flowermania, features strings and lace made in recycled Lycra. On the beachwear side, the Secret Cove, Savannah Mood, Beach Escape and Exotic Fever lines are all made with recycled polyamide,” said Bernaud.
Bernaud said that Aubade has a long-established relationship of trust with its Tunisian garment makers. They are all “audited annually, and mostly located in the vicinity of Aubade's local factory. The region, renowned for its top-notch garment makers, accounts for 85% of our output.”
Aubade has 770 employees in total, of whom more than 96% are women, and focuses on “running the business in a socially responsible manner, committing to constantly developing the skills, independence and creativity of its employees, and advocating internal mobility so as to be able to retain the best of them,” underlined Bernaud, adding that “finding new talent is also a priority of ours, especially thanks to our attractive, performance-based remuneration policy.”
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