Photo: Karen Inderbitzen Waller
Last night at the Crane Brothers High Street store, Murray Crane launched Black Sheep, his first ever ready to wear collection, and revealed the company's future growth plans in a letter personally addressed to each guest. It included a quick note about the new print campaign and a commitment to "develop new channels and opportunities to promote the brand" (translation: advertise in several titles); formally introduced Glenn Yungnickel as Assistant Designer and Robert Niwa as Creative Director; and spoke of an intake of staff - five across the company this year alone, with two extra interns coming from AUT's design school programme - the two interns they took last year have become full time Crane workers.
Crane Brothers' Wellington store is getting a face lift and expansion - it will double in size this year. According to the letter, "The store has been open for just over a year and has experienced better than forecasted growth."
Internationally, designers tend to be more open about their downfalls (like Thom Browne who admitted last year that he'd been on the brink of bankruptcy), but locally our designers are loathe to reveal any less than favourable company results. Murray Crane addressed the good and bad in the letter, saying, "Crane Brothers experienced minimal growth in 2009". This was followed by a note that the company is "entering into a recapitalisation process... and are forecasting significant growth in 2010 and beyond."
But possibly the most exciting news for the brand - and for lovers of (very) high end menswear - Crane Brothers will begin producing a signature made to measure collection out of Europe in August, using the same factories as Lanvin, Gucci and Kilgour. No doubt the price point on this collection will be significantly higher than what most New Zealand men are used to paying for their made to measure suits, but it will be the closest thing to Savile Row that we've ever had.
All exciting news, but the bit that really stood out to me was Murray Crane's acknowledgment of Glenn Yungnickel as Assistant Designer. Most fashion houses have the face of the brand - Miuccia Prada, Tom Ford, Stefano Pilati - and everyone else is hidden in the bowels. Fantastic to see young talent being both nurtured and publicly applauded.
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