>> Paco Rabanne shuttered its clothing line in 2006, after a failed revival attempt by Patrick Robinson, but it's coming back onto the scene now, slowly but surely, with the brand's 76-year-old namesake designer consulting.
The first prong of reemergence? The relaunch of the brand's iconic 1969 chain-mail bag in new materials like stingray, horn, metal, glitter leather, and suede. The bag, which retails for $1,400 to $2,200, was shown during the most recent Paris Fashion Week, and will launch at London's Dover Street Market in January for one month before going to select retailers. Rei Kawakubo picked out materials for three interpretations of the reissued bag, and those will be sold exclusively in nine Comme des Garçons stores; Comme des Garçons is also handling the distribution of all the bags to retailers.
According to Rabanne, who was involved in the bag's relaunch: "I immediately got on board with the plan to relaunch the bag, but in my view it was necessary to make it in more comfortable materials. So we did this, using fine materials (shagreen, vegetable leather…) and/or materials in line with the Rabanne universe (rubber, plastic, aluminum . . . )."
The plan, according to Vincent Thilloy, Rabanne's VP, is to "come back and enrich the image of the brand," which means accessories first, and then clothing in the near future. Rabanne, who the executives are closely consulting, already knows what he wants to see: "The Paco Rabanne brand is and must remain what it has always been: audacious."