Rochas has selected Italian designer Alessandro Vigilante as its next creative director of ready-to-wear. He has worked in the studio of such brands as The Attico, Dolce & Gabbana, Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini and Gucci under Alessandro Michele.
But he was a known commodity to Rochas parent Interparfums SA. In an exclusive interview, Philippe Bénacin, chairman and chief executive officer of Interparfums, noted that Vigilante had also worked with Alessandro Dell’Acqua, who logged a six-year tenure as Rochas creative director that wound up in 2020.
Vigilante quietly started working for Rochas last May, contributing to the spring 2024 collection that had been initiated by the studio.
His first official collection is to be unveiled for the fall 2024 season during Paris Fashion Week in February. Bénacin said it would be in a presentation format, with a return to the runway planned for September 2024.
The straight-talking executive said Vigilante “immediately understood the heart of the brand” and will “forge a new identity,” while building on its codes of elegance, audacity, femininity and sophistication.
His first proposals for Rochas “corresponded really well with the idea I had of Rochas, which is very Parisian,” Bénacin said, also lauding the restraint, luxury and wearability of the clothes.
The Italian designer succeeds Charles de Vilmorin, a wunderkind who wound up an uneven two-year tenure last April.
Vigilante is to continue designing and producing his signature collection, which he debuted during Milan Fashion Week in 2021. Born in Puglia, the designer graduated with honors from IED Moda Lab in Milan, and is described by Rochas as a “voracious consumer of art, film, photography and dance.”
“I am honored and grateful to be joining the maison Rochas and for the opportunity to build on the rich and profound heritage of the house,” Vigilante said in a statement. “Rochas represents a dedication to French sophistication and a celebration of womanhood that I find incredibly inspiring. I am looking forward to conveying my vision.”
Founded in 1925 by Marcel Rochas, the house was under the creative direction of Marco Zanini from 2008 to 2013 and Olivier Theyskens from 2002 to 2006, when the fashion line was momentarily shuttered.
Interparfums bought the Rochas fashion and fragrance activity from Procter & Gamble Co. in 2015.
HIM Co SpA — High Italian Manufacturing, the company previously known as Onward Luxury Group — produces Rochas’ women’s rtw. Maison Rochas takes care of all marketing, communications and licensing activities for the brand’s fashion and beauty.
Bénacin said his ambition is that the collection is carried in a substantial way in 100 to 200 top retail doors worldwide, and that retailers return regularly to buy more.
He stressed that the Rochas fashion activity is crucial “because it’s part of the history of the brand” and part of France’s fashion patrimony — even if the business only ends up generating less than 20 million euros.
At present, the lion’s share of Rochas’ activity is fragrances, with the classic Eau de Rochas and Mademoiselle Rochas, targeted at young generations, generating about 80 percent of the business, Bénacin said.
He said a new scent is being developed for release on counters in 2025, when the brand will mark its centenary.
Interparfum’s stable of licensed fragrance brands includes Montblanc, Boucheron, Coach, Jimmy Choo, Karl Lagerfeld, Kate Spade and Van Cleef & Arpels. The company also owns Lanvin’s perfume and cosmetics business.