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Cacharel

With design duo Eley Kishimoto on board and a new vintage project for spring 09, Cacharel is flying high.

For a brand approaching its 50th birthday, Cacharel just keeps getting younger. Not only has the womenswear and accessories brand produced a kidswear collection since the early 1970s but Cacharel is also playfully named after a wild duck from the Camargue in southern France.

Cacharel was founded in 1962 by Jean Bousquet (pictured top left), who is still the firm’s chief executive, and soon became renowned for its shirting and use of Liberty prints, to the extent that French girls-about-town would refer to the label’s famous lightweight blouse as ‘un Cacharel’.
Forty six years later and the youthful, print-led label is back in the spotlight. A few weeks ago at Paris Fashion Week, London design duo Eley Kishimoto showed their third collection for the label, featuring a “new vintage” series of relaunched 1970s styles made from the original patterns and Liberty prints.

According to Maria Lemos, founder of Rainbowwave – the London fashion agency whose first client was Cacharel – and the brand’s UK sales manager, the input from Eley Kishimoto has “an Asian quirkiness along with a lot of smocked dresses and trapeze and A-line silhouettes which attract a younger customer, as well as an edgier, less obvious colour palette of mustard, bizarre browns and petrol blue.”

At £29 to £32 for tops, £60 to £70 for dresses and £37 to £64 for skirts, prices for garments in the Cacharel’s Liberty project are priced about 15% lower than the mainline in order to recreate the widely accessible pricing architecture Cacharel was famed for in the 1970s. The range includes shirts, dresses, skirts and bikinis and will be distributed via a limited number of stores including the Liberty store and Dover Street Market in London.

The UK edit of Cacharel’s mainline collection features 90 styles, predominantly dresses but also takes in shirts, tops, jackets and summer coats.
Lemos explains: “The collection is mainly printed dresses, which is what the customer is trying to find in Cacharel. Easy floral styles with sleeves are popular but prints just outsell everything.” In the mainline, shirts are priced at £40 to £65, jackets are £70 to £100 and dresses at £80 to £130.

The label shares rail space with a number of high-end diffusion lines such as Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, Marc by Marc Jacobs and See by Chloé, and is aimed at women aged between 20 and 35. However, the brand’s longevity and heritage mean it also attracts an older clientele.
With 20 stockists throughout the UK, including London boutiques The Cross in Notting Hill and Koh Samui in Covent Garden, and etailers My-Wardrobe and Dressrail, Lemos explains that “the brand is getting a new lease of life”. She adds: “We are regaining our cult status so we would certainly hope to widen our distribution in the future.”

Cacharel 020 7352 0002 www.cacharel.com

Essentials

46: Number of years since Cacharel’s launch
20: Number of UK stockists
90: Number of pieces in the UK edit of its mainline
1962: The year Cacharel was founded

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