Vince’s vice president of international sales tells Lauretta Roberts why she couldn’t resist joining the premium lifestyle brand.
Your last role was as director of sales at relaunched designer womenswear label Halston. What attracted you to premium lifestyle brand Vince, as they’re quite different propositions?There are similarities in my roles at both brands as I have the opportunity to be an entrepreneur within a larger entity. Halston has such a strong historical brand identity that the challenge was to reintroduce this heritage to the global market, while Vince has a tremendous US following. When I was asked to join Vince, the prospect of taking this success overseas was too exciting to pass up.
How would you describe the Vince aesthetic and what are its signature pieces?
Vince is best known as a line of luxe staples popular with celebrities such as Kate Moss and actresses Kate Hudson, Renée Zellweger and Cate Blanchett. The label’s signature cashmere sweater is iconic. It comes in a multitude of colours and its neckline forms a perfect ‘o’ shape; it zips up at the front and has a hood, slanted pockets, and a slightly rolled hem. Vince also makes basics with a twist, including leather aviator jackets and novelty blazers.
Do you plan to evolve or add to the collection, and if so how?
There are several natural extensions of the brand in the pipeline – everything from swimwear and footwear to sunglasses. Menswear is also on the rise in the US, and will be sold overseas from spring 10 as we ramp up distribution, particularly in the UK.
What plans do you have to expand wholesale in the UK?
We see a lot of opportunity to develop the brand by creating ‘soft shops’ [areas with removable features such as signature furniture provided by the brand] with our existing department store partners, like Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols, to give customers the visual branding they need. The speciality stores we partner with are also growing the brand by continuously reinventing the mix and mood of their offer.
Where do you see Vince’s positioning?
What makes Vince unique is its ability to sit in with brands but not look out of place when teamed with high-end designer pieces.
You have Vince standalone stores in the US. Would you consider opening a store in the UK or in other territories?
Yes. International stores are on the radar, both in the UK and overseas. Stay tuned for a Vince boutique near your local tube station.
At Halston, you created online innovations such as selling straight from the catwalk via etailer Net-a-Porter. Will we see similar innovations at Vince?
Yes. The technological innovations will focus on improving our relationships with buyers and making the buying process easier for them. For example, with buyers cutting down on travel, we want to make the new collections more accessible and easier to buy online without obligating them to visit the showroom five times a year.
Which is your favourite fashion store? My favourites are those that evolve with time and embrace emerging talent. Opening Ceremony in New York is a good example. I also adore vintage stores.
Which is your favourite fashion era? Ancient Rome for the toga’s casual elegance, the 1900s for the birth of haute couture, the 1950s for dresses (pictured), and the 1960s for the mini skirt.
Who is your fashion icon? Chloë Sevigny and Edie Sedgwick are at the top of my list. I appreciate strong women that aren’t afraid to express themselves.
- Laura Gottlieb is vice president of international sales at premium lifestyle brand Vince