Freedom for the inner biker-girlCacheral’s floral sun dresses always seem to make Korean girls squeal with delight. Many fashion-conscious women in their mid-20s have a few Cacharel pieces in their wardrobe, a fashionably correct blouse or two and maybe a cute clutch from the swank Cacheral boutique inside the Galleria Department Store.
To be established to this extent marks a good start for Cacharel, a relatively new brand in Korea. The Korean subsidiary of Bluebell Group introduced Cacharel in 2002. Now the distributor plans to strengthen the brand’s impact. At the Gramercy restaurant on Dec. 1, Cacharel made its first fashion presentation in Seoul. It was marked by the rare appearance of the brand’s creative director and designer, Inacio Ribeiro. Mr. Ribeiro was accompanied by three executives from the Paris headquarters, and they came to Seoul via Tokyo where they had attended the Cacharel fashion show.
Compared with the Japanese event, where the brand has a long history and held a runway show for 800 people to launch the 2007 spring summer collection, the Korea event, organized for a roomful of journalists, is a modest affair. Clearly, Cacheral in Korea is still at the embryonic stage. But the 16 delicious outfits on four models made journalists salivate ― and they all went home with a fresh image of Cacharel and its star designer.
Mr. Ribeiro, who usually travels with his partner and wife, Suzanne Clements, came alone. British-born Ms. Clements, who shares credit for Cacheral’s designs with her husband, recently gave birth to the couple’s second child. Mr. Ribeiro, a native of Brazil, said their inspiration is the work of 70s model turned impressionist photographer Sarah Moon whose pictures incorporate ethereal beauty with hard rock motifs.
After many seasons of flirting with floral themes, the designers incorporated graphic elements, a la Moon, while maintaining traditional elegance in their outfits, such as short roomy dresses, high-waisted shorts and striped knit tops. The most visible reference to the “biker girl” theme from Ms. Moon’s vintage photographs consisted of small spikes and studs that embellished chunky platform sandals and handbags and the shiny metallic fabric, fashion’s de riguer look for this season. Mr. Ribiero said the clothes didn’t overly emphasize the tough look, but rather were a case of allowing women to discover their “inner bike- girl” when wearing the collection.
Cacharel has become highly commercial, positioning the brand ever closer to the likes of Marc Jacobs, Marni and Miu Miu and making it increasingly endorsed by celebrities and fashionistas alike.
Mr. Ribeiro and Ms. Clements met at St. Martin’s School of Design in London and in 1993 founded Clements Ribeiro.
“Clements and Ribeiro were just perfect for Cacharel when we were looking for a new designer almost six years ago,” said Sibylle Jammes, the communications manager at Cacharel. “We love what they’ve brought to the brand, so we signed another contract for five years.”
Cacharel was founded by Jean Bousquet in Nime in 1962. Cacharel helped revolutionize modern-day dressing for women in the 1970s, and its introduction of the semi-transparent blouse was considered a shock for the fashion industry. Along with other fashion houses, Cacharel expanded into scents and in 1978 it launched its signature perfume, Anais Anais.
Cacharel now has more than 54 boutiques worldwide, including 17 in France, 15 in Italy, five in Spain and four in Japan. In Korea, there are two boutiques, in the Galleria department store in southern Seoul and the Lotte department store in Busan.
by Ines Cho