Luxury lingerie brand La Perla has bigger plans beyond bras and underwear.
The company announced on Wednesday that it would be launching a women’s ready-to-wear collection of clothing, led by newly appointed creative director Julia Haart. Haart was previously working on the La Perla design team for two accessories collections during the Spring/Summer 2016 and Fall/Winter 2016-2017 seasons.
La Perla’s first women’s ready-to-wear collection comes as it claims to be evolving into a lifestyle brand. With the addition of ready-to-wear, La Perla will expand to offer clothing, lingerie, sleepwear, beachwear, accessories and men’s loungewear and beachwear lines.
In an announcement, chairman Silvio Scaglia said that the move is the “first phase of evolution for the brands towards a complete lifestyle proposition.”
The concept of becoming a lifestyle brand is one that has marked a number of recent business strategies across industries: Shoe brand Camper launched a group of luxury boutique hotels to immerse travelers in the Camper brand abroad; Birchbox, looking outside of its monthly subscription boxes, has begun offering in-store styling services and broader-range products to pad out their core business. The trend reaches outside of fashion and beauty, too: IHOP wants to be a lifestyle brand. So does Mastercard.
“It’s a challenge for brands to draw new identifications to their core business,” said Ashley Paintsil, director of outreach at FashInvest. “They want to be loved by everyone at all times, which is how we got the term ‘lifestyle brand.’”
For La Perla, being a lifestyle brand means that its customers will sleep, swim and step out of the house in La Perla, while carrying a La Perla purse, wearing its perfume and its sunglasses. While it claims that its expansion into high-end women’s clothing is a natural extension for the brand, other brands have responded to a changing global luxury market has by slimming down their offerings.Brands like Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren, for example, are moving away from reaching into more categories and splitting focus from the core product.
“It’s really important for brands to develop one point of view, and then have a unified front,” said Paintsil. “That’s what today’s customer responds to.”
Haart told Vogue that the first La Perla ready-to-wear collection will be a take on the lingerie-inspired clothing trend: slip dresses and corset tops worn by celebrities from Kardashians to Gigi Hadid. The brand announced in its Instagram post that it will debut during Milan Fashion Week this September.