Paco Rabanne on the runway Spring 2004
Paco Rabanne on the runway Spring 2004

DALLAS, Jan 7, 2009 / FW/ — One of the most forward-thinking designers of his time, Paco Rabanne’s use of non-traditional materials on clothing changed the world looked at clothing forever. So, when the Puig Beauty and Fashion Group closed the doors of the maison in 2006, there was a collective feeling of a great loss. But, there is hope yet! WWD and Vogue UK report that the label is planning a comeback via licenses.

This development comes after the appointment of Vincent Thilloy as Vice President overseeing the fragrance, fashion and accessories business of Puig. Thilloy, who was recently a director at Paco Rabanne before his current appointment saw the label’s fragrance business take off with sales of Paco Rabanne Parfum doubling in the past two to three years.

As most industry insiders know, perfumes are big moneymakers for a fashion brand. There are fashion houses that are willing to run their apparel line at a loss because they make up the difference in perfume sales. The accepted consensus is that the apparel line keeps the label in the eyes of the public via fashion show coverage and celebrity endorsements on the red carpet.

Such was the case with Thierry Mugler, whose perfume continues to on the top 5 worldwide. According to industry scuttlebutt, the House of Thierry Mugler decided to revive the clothing line to support perfume sales.

Paco Rabanne Black XS
Paco Rabanne Black XS

As for Paco Rabanne, the maison might be officially closed but it continues to be a big moneymaker for Puig. Aside from the lucrative perfume sales, Paco Rabanne has licensed watches and eyewear, plus a ready-to-wear license in South Korea.

This is good news overall for everyone concerned. For Paco Rabanne fans, they can now expect new collections from their favorite label, for the fashion industry, the revival of any label, especially a fashion house as historical as Paco Rabanne is music to our ears. As for businesses, any news of expansion during this dire economic climate is a sight for sore eyes.

There is always a flipside. This might rain on everyone’s parade but Paco Rabanne existing just on licenses including the ready-to-wear can easily mean that we cannot expect any fashion innovations coming from the House of Paco Rabanne because as the news implies, the maison is being revived to sell more perfumes and not to be on the cutting edge of fashion the was Paco Rabanne was when he started during the 1960s.

And that is like getting a dousing of cold water to wake all of us to fashion’s reality.


Photo of Paco Rabanne by Javier Mateo

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