The collection is seen by analysts as the next step in
bringing back old customers and getting new shoppers interested in the
"Fashionistas who usually just pass by the Gap may go
into the store to purchase Mouret items, and while they are there, see
other merchandise they like," Chen said. "H&M got people to line up
outside of their stores when they joined with [Karl] Lagerfeld. The Gap
needs to generate buzz and get people back into their stores.
I would have not associated something like this with the Gap, but I
also would have not expected it from H&M, either. Exclusive brands
are the way fashion is going," the analyst added.
If the venture
is a success in Europe and Manhattan, Chen believes Gap might release
the line in other key markets or attempt other exclusive deals with
And Sunnucks, a U.K. retail industry veteran who
joined Gap in June 2005, didn’t rule that out, saying he hoped the
Mouret collection was the first of "many seasons" with the designer. He
added that Gap in Europe has already pumped up its design team to 35
"Design is the way forward on the high street," he said.
collection is Sunnucks’ first grand gesture as Gap’s European chief. He
was brought in to revive Gap’s sales and fashion credibility in the
extremely competitive European market that is increasingly design-savvy.
now, Mouret’s capsule collection was destined only for select European
stores in the U.K., Ireland and France, so Sunnucks’ announcement that
it also would be available in New York came as a surprise.
Americans saw the collection and liked it, so we’ll be doing it as more
of a test," added Anita Borzyszkowska, vice president of public
relations, Gap Inc. International.
Mouret worked with wool in
mostly stretch jersey, flannel, gabardine and crepe and added in
details such as his signature folded cap sleeve, practical pockets,
ruffles and epaulets.
"It’s definitely not a diffusion of what
I’ve been doing, but I have revisited a lot of the details I’ve done in
the past, like the folded sleeve," said a buoyant Mouret.
Mouret said he teamed up with Gap for a variety of reasons.
came to me because they felt they weren’t strong in the dress category.
They wanted a new project that would take Gap dresses to a new level. I
have always been a fan of Gap — I like their laid-back attitude, and it
was the right mix of people to work with."
Borzyszkowska said the capsule collection was a blend of Mouret’s design aesthetic and Gap’s practical, casual one.
wanted the dresses to be easy and work with the rest of Gap collection.
The dresses have pockets, and most of them can be layered over polo
necks or collared shirts to go from day to night," she said.
added, "We had all the girls at Gap here test all the designs out. Our
feeling [is], if they love them, everyone is going to."
said the Gap collection was his first project under the umbrella of
19RM, the joint venture partnership Mouret formed in September with
Simon Fuller. The new company, a division of 19 Entertainment Ltd., the
media and branded entertainment firm founded by Fuller, will tackle a
variety of fashion-related projects.