I wonder if this means the new campaign unfurls tomorrow?
A fashion legend heads for the office
01/07/2007 08:26:51 PM EST THE MAIL ON SUNDAY (UNITED KINGDOM)
FASHION brand Aquascutum is unbuttoning its classic image from tomorrow in a global advertising campaign headed by supermodel Julia Stegner and former James Bond star Pierce Brosnan.
The label, famous for its trench coats worn by Hollywood legends such as Humphrey Bogart and Greta Garbo, is launching a women's businesswear collection as part of plans to double group sales to GBP450 million within three years.
Kim Winser, who joined as chief executive from Pringle of Scotland last year, believes the key to the success of the business is building its appeal to women. Winser believes womenswear sales could grow from GBP100 million to GBP250 million by 2010. The new collection will go into stores in September.
Aquascutum is owned by Japanese firm Renown. In 2005, Kaleido Holdings, a private equity fund, bought a 22 per cent stake in Renown for GBP47 million.
About GBP40 million will be injected into Aquascutum to help fund Winser's rejuvenation plans. Some of this has been spent refurbishing the brand's UK flagship store in Regent Street, central London.
Aquascutum lost GBP2.25 million in 2005, though Winser is confident of returning it to profitability. The company plans to open a store in New York in the autumn.
Aquascutum has launches its Spring/Summer 2007 advertising campaign featuring, for a second season, former James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan and model Julia Stegner.
The British brand’s successful Autumn/Winter 2006 campaign, which saw Brosnan make his debut for Aquascutum, confirmed the iconic status of both the actor and the brand.
The campaign was also the first for the brand’s new President and chief executive Kim Winser. Banner Ad
This new campaign sees Brosnan and Stegner in a series of contemporary settings and was shot in a private location in the British countryside by fashion photographer, Mario Sorrenti, and styled by Andrew Richardson.
Brsonan said: “I’m very proud of the campaign. Aquascutum is a company that has a great sense of style, and the pictures are suitably elegant.”
Winser said, “The new campaign is an exciting development of the power couple relationship that we introduced last season. Mario Sorrenti has once again shot a beautiful campaign which shows our new collections in a contemporary, fresh light.”
The portfolio of images will run globally in select womens’ and mens’ fashion magazines from January onwards.
Last August Aquascutum hired Pringle international head of marketing Charlotte Thomas as global communications director. The move was part of a restructure driven by Winser.
Post by sparklingblue on Jan 15, 2007 19:03:45 GMT -5
I have heard from a couple of people that they have problems seeing images posted at imageshack so I put in direct links right away. Too bad photobucket has the size limit now. At least links to photobucket worked.
I think you can set new size limits at Photobucket now, it's only the "default" settings that automatically resize things to 800 pixels. At least that's what I did a couple months or so ago when I was having problems with it.
I'M standing with Kim Winser in the Aquascutum designers' studio in London's Shoreditch, and with less than 48 hours until the Aquascutum show at London Fashion Week, things are more than a little hectic. Walls, floors and tables are littered with Polaroids, fabric swatches, drawing and trimmings, and even the loo is packed with tailoring. Half-dressed models are measured and photographed among piles of threads, ribbons and buttons, and seamstresses frantically scurry after designers Michael Herz and Graeme Fidler.
Amid all the chaos, 47-year-old Winser, president and CEO of the fashion label, is a beacon of calm. Dressed head to toe in black Aquascutum, and teetering on four-inch heels, she chats excitedly with her staff about the new collection. Her relaxed, friendly demeanour seems in contrast to the focused superwoman who is legendary for her ability to transform a company from a dowdy has-been into a super-stylish must-have.
Having worked her magic at Marks & Spencer and Pringle, she is now undertaking the colossal task of sexing up Aquascutum, whose autumn/winter 2007 collection will be shown at London Fashion Week today.
Last year Winser received an OBE for services to industry. She has been listed No 3 in the Wall Street Journal's list of Europe's most successful businesswomen, and Management Today named her as one of Europe's most powerful women. However, it's been a long road to the top.
Divorced with an eight-year-old son, Helensburgh-born Winser joined Marks & Spencer's management-training scheme straight from school and rocketed up the corporate ladder to become the company's youngest director and the first woman on the board. She joined Pringle in 2000, building sales from less than £10 million to £100 million worldwide, taking it from golf-shop bargain bins to the catwalks of Milan.
After leaving Pringle in 2005, she took a year out to consider the various job offers that were flooding in, and in May 2006 she became chief executive at Aquascutum.
"I am incredibly passionate about British fashion," she says, pushing her glasses up over her neat blonde hair. "What I love about British brands is their history. They have an amazing heritage which is a fantastic asset, but only works if you can give it a really modern spin. I think unfortunately a lot of the British brands just rely on their history, but people's lifestyles and expectations change. I always say to my team that we have to be as passionate about our future as we are about our past."
And what a past it is. John Emery founded Aquascutum (Latin for water shield) in 1851 after he was granted the patent for a "shower-proofing wool fabric" to make raincoats. Three years later, he was supplying Aquascutum coats to British Army officers in the Crimean War and, by 1897, the company was rain-proofing most British and European royalty. The classic, belted, double-breasted coat with gun-flap sleeve-straps and epaulettes was created to combat the mud and rain of the First World War trenches, hence the name "trenchcoat", and Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing were both dressed by Aquascutum to climb Everest.
Today, a model is being fitted for a decadent cream silk quilted coat that doesn't quite look like it could stand up to the rigours of Everest. Winser pauses to coo over the fabric. "John Emery was revolutionary with fabrics, and today we are constantly developing them. This allows us to take elements of our heritage and make it really modern. That's what separates us; we don't just cut patterns. First and foremost we're fabric developers."
Crammed into every available corner, wrapped in plastic and ready to be unveiled, the new collection draws on the company's military history, with opulent buttons and prominent lapels, yet executes the concepts in a thoroughly modern manner. There's plenty of tweed, but it's used on sexy ruffled mini-dresses. There's cable-knit, but it's exaggerated to grotesque proportions. And then there are the shoes. "They were designed by Manolo Blahnik for Aquascutum, and they're just gorgeous," says Winser excitedly. "I'll be wearing my pair on Wednesday. The stiletto heel is like a little drumstick - very rock'n'roll."
It seems rather an oxymoron to utter the words Aquascutum and rock'n'roll in the same sentence, but it appears that the description is not at all inaccurate. On the cover of the latest issue of NME, Ricky Wilson of the Kaiser Chiefs wore Aquascutum's navy Fairmont trench, with the collar arrogantly turned up.
It is difficult to believe that this is the same slick coat that a neat, suave Pierce Brosnan wears in the spring/summer ad campaign. "That's the beauty of such a classic design, she says. "We took the original design and played with it, looking at the details and bringing it up to date, and it looks just as at home on James Bond as it does on a rock star."
The latest collection is evidence enough that times are a'changing at Aquascutum: the brand verges on unrecognisable. Winser herself admits that before her appointment she hadn't stepped foot in the store for ten years. So with so many job offers coming in, why did she choose dusty old Aquascutum?
"Much like Pringle, I was attracted to the heritage. It's an iconic, powerful and glamorous brand, with beautiful archives. It's just lost a little of its sparkle. However, it's a very different challenge to Pringle. Pringle didn't have any retail outlets. It didn't even have an IT system. Aquascutum is a much more built business, and the challenge here is to develop the brand, and take it into profit."
Ah, the p-word. Aquascutum has been haemorrhaging money for years, but Winser's three-year plan for the company includes doubling turnover from £220 million to £450m. However, her critics noted that, while at Pringle sales might have increased, she failed to turn a profit. "With Pringle we started from nothing, so it was very much a long-term project. Opening retail divisions isn't cheap, but at Aquascutum we can focus on product, people and marketing, as opposed to the basic building blocks, so it will have a quicker turnaround," she says.
So how exactly does Winser plan to execute this turnaround? "At Pringle and M&S, I learned that the most important thing to consider is how to communicate the brand," she says. "While we're looking to expand the company globally and develop a new accessories line, the image and the brand are forefront in my mind.
"When I started at Aquascutum, I knew immediately that there were a lot of things that weren't working. I threw out a lot of product. The autumn 2006 ad campaign had already been shot, but I threw it out and had it re-shot as it was completely unsuitable." Winser's approach is certainly hands-on. She insists on having her office above the flagship Regent Street store, where she can survey the shoppers scuttling along Regent Street and keep an eye on rival retailers.
"I think it's absolutely essential to have my office above the store," she says. "On my first day I was shown into my office, which was based in the city, and I said to my assistant, 'where are the customers, where are the shops?' I moved to my office above the store the following morning. I get to meet the customers, talk to the staff and see which products were going out the door. I couldn't run retail without that connection."
In developing the brand, one of Winser's initial tasks was to find suitable spokespeople. Using Sophie Dahl and Ewan McGregor for Pringle reaffirmed it as a youthful, vibrant and very British brand. For Aquascutum she brought in model Julia Stegner and Brosnan.
"Pierce is immaculate and very British. He appeals very much to the Asian and American markets, and Julia is just so sexy," she says.
Well, sex does sell, and Winser knows it. "Our trademark is the trenchcoat, and the thing about the trenchcoat is that, whether worn by Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Sophia Loren or Julia and Pierce today, we've always been interested in what's underneath it."
Over the past 20 years, the most exciting person to have worn an Aquascutum trench was probably Margaret Thatcher. However, with Winser's influence, the pendulum is swinging away from crumbling old aristocrats towards vibrant young things, and Angelina Jolie recently snapped up two of their cropped macs. Suddenly what's underneath the Aquascutum trench is looking a whole lot more interesting.
LUSTRE RESTORED: BRANDS THAT CAME BACK
PERHAPS the biggest success story when it comes to Brit heritage brands, Burberry was founded in 1856 by Thomas Burberry. Famous for macs and quilted jackets, the trademark check didn't actually make an appearance until the 1920s, and then only as a trenchcoat lining. By the mid 1990s it was suffering from its conservative image and Rose Marie Bravo was hired as chief executive in 1997, bringing in new designs, and an advertising campaign starring Kate Moss. However, the company became a victim of its own success, as the camel check was adopted by football hooligans and neds. The firm backtracked in 2004, discontinuing the check baseball cap. Today analysts say the company is worth up to £1.8 billion.
A RELATIVE newcomer in the "heritage" stakes (it was founded in 1971) Mulberry is nonetheless a big part of the Brit-chic set and, last year, after a string of celebrity endorsements, sales soared by 44 per cent. Its sumptuous leather bags, inset, are must-haves, and the Roxanne and Bayswater lines became instant classics. The empire continues to grow, and the company has branched out into furniture.
FOUNDED in 1815 by Robert Pringle and partners, the first factory was in Hawick. Until recently, the primary market was golf clothes, and Pringle sponsored golfer Nick Faldo for much of his career. When Winser arrived in 2000, she ditched Faldo and began modernising the brand, which today is worn by Robbie Williams, Madonna and David Beckham.
FOUNDED in 1887, Smythson's clients have included Queen Victoria, Sir Edmund Hillary and Madonna. Specialising in stationery and leather goods, the brand has become extremely popular in the past decade, and now boasts six outlets in the UK and one in the US, with £12 million in sales revenues annually.
JAEGER'S roots date back to 1884, and today the company, run by former Debenhams boss Belinda Earl, has 125 shops in Europe. Over the past decade, the brand was seen as out of touch, but last year the company got a facelift with its new line, Jaeger London, modelled by Erin O'Connor. Like-for-like sales in the Christmas period rose by 18 per cent.