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Michel Klein Gains New Backer; Launches Sunglass Collection June 13th, 2012 @ 00:48 AM


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Armani Conquers China, Chastises the Pope June 01st, 2012 @ 11:53 AM



 
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Michel Klein Gains New Backer; Launches Sunglass Collection

Godfrey Deeny
June 13th, 2012 @ 00:48 AM - Paris

Investment house Audacia has taken a 10-percent stake in the fashion house of Michel Klein, as the revival of the Paris-based brand gathers pace.

Audacia, based in Paris and controlled by Charles Beigbeder, has already taken stakes in edgy basics label APC and the houses of designers Jerome Dreyfuss and Alexis Mabille. Then move marks a remarkable turnaround for Klein, a house that went into the French equivalent of Chapter 11 three years ago.

Terms of the acquisition were not revealed, however after Audacia's acquisition, the key shareholders in Société d'Exploitation Michel Klein remain former Societe General bank Guillaume Befve and his partners, with a 75 percent stake. Minority shareholders hold the remaining 10 percent.

Befve bought the assets of Michel Klein shortly after falling into Chapter 11, subsequently financing a flagship store in St Germain.

“We believe there is a great potential to expand Michel Klein worldwide. He is one of the last stories in Paris of what fashion used to be. We think there is a huge chance of growth in the US, UK and Middle East, as well among online distributors,” Befve told FWD on Wednesday, June 13, adding that Klein would acquire a stake in the house before the end of the year.

Klein presented his first collection in 1976, though he was already known as a precious talent, designing prints for Yves Saint Laurent at the age of 17. As a designer he’s had his ups and downs, but has consistently won positive reviews for his ideas.

Audacia's move comes just after a gutsy commercial move by the Paris-based designer, who launched a slick new sunglasses collection last month.

Instead of the classic route of a license with large Italian manufacturer, Klein linked up with two creative young Frenchwomen, optician Nathalie Brunet and former Chanel hatter Thyra Fiordalice, to create decidedly different shades.

“I wanted simple yet sophisticated sunglasses. Shades are like watches, objects of fashion that should not be too fashionable. So ours are really like couture, not typical sports like shades,” argued Klein.

The result is a refined retro-chic style, sober yet with a healthy soupcon of quirky nonchalance; all made in acetate, with a color palette of seashell, champagne, jade and coral. Manufactured in a plant at Oyonnax, a city in the foothills of the French Alps, the collection comes in 12 different models, each in five choices of color. They are sold in a fabric Art Deco plaid box with the MK logo

Priced at 230 euros and 250 euros, or $285 to $315, the shades are already retailing in some 30 specialty stores in France, with plans to expand internationally next year. Or, bien sur, one can buy them directly in Klein's own rue Jacob boutique in the chic St Germain neighborhood of Paris.

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