Charles Jourdan back in the limelight
Good news for shoes aficionados: iconic French luxury footwear label Charles Jourdan is back. After several setbacks, the brand bought by the Royer group in 2008 is opening a 130 m2 flagship store on Monday in the heart of Paris, at 7 Place de la Madeleine, the same square where a Charles Jourdan store was opened in 1957.
The Royer group, a specialist in licensed footwear and owner among others of Kickers, threw in the towel in 2013 after a first, unsuccessful relaunch attempt, and the following year it even sold the Charles Jourdan manufacturing site at Romans-sur-Isère, France. The Jourdan brand effectively disappeared, except in Japan, where it was still distributed under licence by Itochu, but the project is still alive and Charles Jourdan is now back on the market.
"We needed to give it some time to wipe the slate clean, so as to be able to work on a blank canvas and restart with something new. This project needs significant investment, and we have been working on it for nearly two years," said to FashionNetwork.com the General Manager Jean-François Ferrandiz, who took charge of the brand at the end of 2014.
"We have an exceptional brand with incredible potential," he added. The label is firmly entrenched in the collective imagination of shoe lovers for the perfect arch of its high-heeled shoes and its couture models, and the idea is to make it more accessible. Charles Jourdan is now positioned "very aggressively" as a mid-premium brand.
"The average retail price will be under €400, about 40% cheaper than previous price levels. The collections are now slightly less focused on evening models and more on everyday city shoes," said Ferrandiz, indicating that former Charles Jourdan stores have been closed because "their standard did no longer correspond to the current positioning."
In the meantime, the showroom next to the place de la Madeleine store is already active. The models are developed by an internal design team of three, who are giving a fresh new take on some of the label's signature shoes.
For the time being, a Spanish manufacturer will produce the women's collection, which also includes some leather accessories, while the men's line is currently being tested.
The Royer group wants to work on Charles Jourdan footwear using its own resources, while any line extension, such as apparel, is expected to be developed under licence. For example, a sport shoes line is likely to be produced in France by the Compagnie Vosgienne de la Chaussure.
As for the retail network, it will grow using a franchising model, and the group is holding talks for the opening of a Shanghai store with a local partner.
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