If you think Karl Lagerfeld has his fingers in too many pies, think again. Nothing is too much for this creative genius who has been heading Chanel for the last three decades. Lagerfeld is soon launching a fashion brand under his own name, Karl, as an online-only retail brand. Lagerfeld has already roped in private equity firm Apax to provide financial support.
Initially, products under Karl will sold through Net-a-Porter for the first month. Thereafter, it will be offered to online consumers via a dedicated website that should start operations in spring next year. Karl will feature “rock chic” designs that cost between 60 and 300 euros.
Lagerfeld’s arrival on the online scene is another indication that the luxury fashion community is finally embracing the online medium. In the past, luxury brands like Louis Vuitton had expressed their unwillingness to move online because a website could not provide the same hands-on service as a physical store. However, customers do not seem to be unhappy with ecommerce. Bain & Co. reported last week that online luxury sales are slated to increase by 25 percent in 2011.
Even as the launch of Karl gets underway, Lagerfeld is also working on a more upmarket label – Karl Lagerfeld Paris. This label is scheduled to launch in autumn next year and will be available through multi-brand and department stores. The price points will vary between 300 and 2,000 euros. Apax has a majority stake in the entire venture, which goes by the name of Karl Lagerfeld BV. Pier Paolo Righi, the chief executive of Karl Lagerfeld BV, admitted that the firm expects to multiply its sales by four or five times within the next half decade.