From next month you'll be able to FCUK in the bedroom, as fashion brand French Connection expands into homewares. Its first collection launches online and in 10 stores including London's Oxford Street, Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle in early April.
The move comes at a challenging time for the brand, which posted a second profit warning last month and announced its retail sales were down 9.5 per cent at the end of last year.
The company's founder, Stephen Marks, denies the launch is linked to the downturn. "We've been looking for some time to see if we can find ways to grow the brand through other revenue streams and this project has been in planning for over 12 months," he says.
French Connection follows a well-trodden path with its expansion into homewares. Fellow fashion brands including Zara, American retailer Anthropologie and high-end names such as Ralph Lauren have all made similar moves in the last decade.
The French Connection range has a contemporary, international flavour and a soft colour palette of blues, greys, creams and browns: think pan-Asian boutique hotel meets New York loft. There's an interesting use of texture – such as the hand-woven leather and wool rug – and hints of the brand's fashion heritage in its use of materials, with the softly tactile jersey bed linen likely to be a winner.
Products include everything from crockery to driftwood tables, ceramics, vases, glassware, soft furnishings and a safari chair, which at £275 is the most expensive item in the collection.
Marks played a large part in editing the collection, working with former Conran head of business development, Lorraine Brennan.
"I've done up nine homes," says Marks, "and this collection follows my own personal style. We're not trying to be everything to everyone, it's either your style or it isn't."
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