For Whitewall‘s winter 2016 Lifestyle Issue, we spoke with Suzy Biszantz, CEO of La Perla North America, about the brand’s Made-to-Measure collection, and a new direction—menswear.
WHITEWALL: Recently, La Perla introduced three new collections that really elevate and expand the sartorial experience of its customers: La Perla Atelier, the Made to Measure Collection, and menswear. Why was now a good time to explore these three areas for the brand?
SUZY BISZANTZ: Under the new ownership, the company has made significant investments to support a strategy aimed at energizing the brand and expanding its heritage luxury positioning. Pillars of the new strategy are a renewed focus on emphasizing the exceptional heritage of Italian craftsmanship, introducing exclusive La Perla Made to Measure and Atelier Collections, and participating in Haute Couture Fashion Week in Paris to launch La Perla’s Atelier Collection.
The launch of the Atelier Collection is part of the strategy, which began in 2015, focused on the brand’s heritage as a way of developing the most high-end component of the proposition. After the Atelier Collection show during the Paris Haute Couture Week in January, private client events have been organized in flagship boutiques with very positive results. A selection of Atelier items is sold in our flagship boutiques and on our e-commerce site.
WW: Can you tell us about La Perla Atelier debuting this year at the couture shows? Do you see this customer overlapping with the Made to Measure Collection customer?
SB: Yes, the Atelier Collection is positioned at the highest end of the luxury segment. It has been designed for haute couture customers who seek and appreciate unique, highly exclusive garments. The same will hold true for the Made to Measure Collection, which offers the opportunity to personalize some of our exclusive creations by having them handcrafted to measure, available only to order.
WW: The Made to Measure Collection uses the finest silks, embroidery, handmade details, and even Swarovski crystals and 14-karat gold thread. Who do you see as your Made to Measure client?
SB: The Made to Measure client will cross over with the Atelier client. Our Made to Measure concept is everything that La Perla stands for, customized entirely from start to finish, for each individual client. Masterfully created from the finest quality materials, the craftsmanship of our seamstresses and their ability to customize make these exclusive pieces truly timeless. Whether it is a choice of the long Maison style, or our most distinct set using 18-karat gold thread, they become treasured pieces of any wardrobe.
WW: What does 14-karat gold thread feel like?
SB: The patented thread is made from pure gold, created by the Italian textile company Piana Clerico, founded in 1582. Used for the first time on lingerie pieces by La Perla, it’s very light with a soft hand.
WW: What are some of your favorite aspects of the Made to Measure Collection?
SB: The most important is that we’re creating something that will be tailored to fit you perfectly. Additionally, you’re able to apply your own special customization within the collection. You can customize color combinations using five shades of silk satin and two shades of gold embroidery. You can also have your monograms embroidered in gold, choosing from two different fonts to match your personal style.
WW: An area that is growing for you in terms of customers is younger women and obviously men with the new menswear line. How are you looking to appeal to these clients in the U.S.?
SB: The company has strengthened the brand’s positioning in the luxury segment by developing an iconic advertising campaign that launched in 2014 and was featured across national publications such as Vogue, Harper’s, W, Interview, and Town & Country.
We believe strongly in our new concept of men’s collection, not only focused on underwear and beachwear, but also a strong emphasis on resort wear and loungewear. Men are increasingly looking for the same sophisticated approach to craftsmanship, fabrics, and design we have been mastering for the past 60 years in our women’s collections. We have embraced this direction fully, taking some important steps: A complete collection dedicated to men was presented at Pitti in Florence last June; a new spring/summer 2015 collection was presented this June in Milan.
Our male client recognizes and seeks luxury. This man, who has an eye for form, will take notice of the exacting craftsmanship in the make of these pieces. Additionally, the new store design allows for a proper location within the boutiques to merchandise the men’s collection.
This article is published in Whitewall‘s winter 2016 issue, out now.