Alanui launches kidswear and a Colette collection in signature blue
Alanui, the happening new Italian knitwear label, launched its first kidswear ideas and unveiled an exclusive collection for Colette in the shop's signature blue on Tuesday morning, elegantly reminding everyone that it is possible to build a hot new brand in Italy.
The unisex collection of three adult cardigans and its three looks for Alanui Kids come with the key DNA of Alanui, native American Indian graphics, and in the Android-like blue of the famed concept store. After a 20-year reign, Colette closes its door for final time on December 20.
In just 18 months, Alanui - the brother and sister brand of Nicolò and Carlotta Oddi from the northern Italian city of Monza - has won accounts in 120 major international boutiques, scoring an annual turnover of over a million euros. Impressive for a niche start-up.
“It’s a rite of passage to retail in Colette. You cannot visit Paris without checking out Colette,” says Carlotta, previously the right-hand woman to Vogue Japan’s fashion editor Anna Dello Russo. “To be asked to create an exclusive collection by Colette is quite simply a great honour,” adds her former race-car driver brother, who like his sister has movie star looks.
Despite the dearth of young designers in Italy, Alanui’s success shows there are many ways to create a successful new label. The pair first unveiled their ideas last year in Milan; rapidly gaining prestige accounts like Bergdorf Goodman in New York; Maxfield in Los Angeles, Joseph in London, and Le Bon Marché in Paris. Their woollens are not cheap. A fringed jacquard-knit cashmere cardigan costs $3,245 on Net-a-Porter. While in Colette a Navajo cardie is priced at €2,500.
All hyper luxurious, the cardigans are made in 980 grams of Cariaggi, the top-end supplier from the Marche region of Italy. Though the name comes from the Hawaiian word for a large path, after Carlotta travelled to the Pacific Island in an old waistcoat that Nicolo had bought in Pasadena flea market. “Now, we want our clothes to follow your paths always too,” smiles Carlotta.
“It takes eleven hours to knit the cashmere and a further six to assemble each cardigan. It’s 1.3 kilo of cashmere; casual luxury to travel anywhere. It’s cosy and comforting and you wear them when you wake up with your running shorts and the first cappuccino,” smiles Nicolò.
This June, the siblings were invited to Pitti, and after giving Internet exclusivity to Net-a-Porter for one year, now sell on the websites of the boutiques where they retail.
“We want our patterns to be timeless. Not too fashion or trendy. You should be able to put it in your wardrobe and take it out a year later and they will still work well,” said Carlotta. Their long-term goal: to build a major new knitwear label with pullovers, ponchos and beanies. In a word, Alanui could be the beginning of the next Missoni.
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