French mail-order catalog teams up with three hot designers

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Indy Lifestyle Online

French mail-order catalog 3 Suisses has partnered with three high-fashion designers for its spring/summer 2011 collection in a bid to revamp its image from a traditional mass market retailer to that of a purveyor of stylish, avant-garde fashion.

Maria Luisa - the famous Parisian fashion buyer responsible for the collaboration between 3 Suisses and designers Charles Anastase, Natalia Brilli, Christian Wijnants and Bernard Willhelm this A/W 2010 season - has once again lent her stable of promising protégés to the French company. Three of her vanguard designers have contributed haute pieces at bargain prices for spring/summer 2011 (ranging from 60- 150 euros or $80-200 USD): There are sleek block color silk dresses and tops by Scottish-born designer Jonathan Saunders, structured tuxedo suits and graphic cocktail dresses by the young French talent Maxime Simoens, and breezy silk tops and day dresses by British Fashion Council award winner Richard Nicoll.

Luisa says the purpose of her creative partnership with 3 Suisses (now in its second season) is twofold: first, to infuse the decades-old company with a dose of high fashion; second, to give her roster of rising designers valuable publicity. "As a designer, you can't just live in the showrooms and be cut off from reality - you need to sell. The designers I've chosen are not yet known by the mass market, but by partnering with 3 Suisses, their creations will be seen by at least five million French customers."

"The dream of every designer is to see their pieces worn on every woman," said Maxime Simoens, who worked with Dior and Balenciaga before starting his eponymous label last year at the age of 25. "I was thrilled when Maria [Luisa] approached me about this project. I had no hesitations about going mass market." Shoppers will be delighted to know that Simoens has produced an affordable version of his embellished cocktail dress - worn by Leighton Meester in an episode of Gossip Girl - for his 3 Suisses line.

3 Suisses' creative repositioning, which has been envisioned by its makers for the past seasons, aims to capture a younger, edgier clientele. Traditionally, the French company - founded in 1928 by Xavier Toulemande for his family's knitted wool business - serviced an older crowd: women ages 45-50. But thanks to its recent collaborations with young hip designers, its main clientele has shifted.

Meanwhile, 3 Suisses' competitor La Redoute- who previously commissioned the voguish designers Gaspard Yurkievich and Tsumori Chisato- is also unveiling several collaborations for S/S 2011 collection, including Cathy Pill, Robert Clergerie and Tila March.

3 Suisses is already available in all of Europe and some Asian and African countries with the launch date of its S/S 2011 collection set for December. Meanwhile, the US section of its site announces that it is "Coming Soon."

http://www.3suisses.com

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