The first collection manufactured by OTB’s production arm Staff International will bow for fall-winter 2020 and will include all product categories for women and men, including ready-to-wear, footwear, handbags and small leather goods. The agreement covers product research and development, production and worldwide distribution (retail, wholesale and online) of the Koché brand.
Founded by Christelle Kocher in 2014, the upscale ready-to-wear label with streetwear and contemporary art references was the 2019 ANDAM Grand Prize winner.
The prestigious award came with an endowment of 250,000 euros ($277,00) plus mentoring from Renzo Rosso, head of Italian fashion group OTB, on matters including financial, legal, marketing, communications and production. ANDAM, the French acronym for the National Association for the Development of the Fashion Arts, is financially supported by private and institutional partners that include Chanel, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Galeries Lafayette and Swarovski.
“I met Christelle at the ANDAM Award last July and was intrigued by her approach to youth culture and her modern vision of fashion,” said Rosso. “I am happy to support her creativity and business development, and to provide her with our 40 years of experience in this industry.”
Considered a marketing whiz and a talent scout with a true passion for creative design, Rosso oversees and supports the ITS talent search in Italy’s Trieste. He mentors the winner of this year’s ANDAM main fashion award and presides over the jury for Milano Moda Graduate.
Kocher said the “strategic partnership and the high expertise of Staff International will enable Koché to reach the next level of its development.”
Characterizing Rosso as her “inspiring mentor,” the designer said she was “enthusiastic to build the future” of her brand with the entrepreneur.
Koché shows its collections at Paris Fashion Week and has held events in New York, Tokyo and Marseille, France. A graduate of Central Saint Martins, Kocher worked in Milan, Antwerp and New York for Bottega Veneta, Dries van Noten, Chloé, Emporio Armani, Sonia Rykiel and Martine Sitbon.
The designer is also the artistic director of Maison Lemarié, one of the specialty ateliers owned by Chanel through its subsidiary Paraffection, and she has been modernizing the storied maker of feathers and flowers, founded in 1880.
“Our projects range from developing digitally to recruiting additional team members, moving to a bigger studio and launching new retail spaces and pop-ups,” the designer said at the time.
Koché became known for its buzzy guerilla-style fashion shows, mostly held in public places around Paris and featuring street-cast models.
For its resort 2019 show, the label took over the deck of the Danielle Casanova, a passenger ferry freshly returned from Tunisia to the port of Marseille, in the South of France. In February, the designer chose the AccorHotels Arena stadium to launch the brand’s Nike collaboration tied to the FIFA Women’s World Cup held in France last June, followed in September by a show at the BPI library at the Centre Pompidou museum in Paris.
The designer, who grew up in the eastern French city of Strasbourg, will leverage the services and synergies of an industrial group that has over the years developed collections for brands including Marc Jacobs, Dsquared2, Marni and Vivienne Westwood Red Label. Staff International, based in Italy’s Veneto region, was acquired by Rosso in 2000.
OTB, which posted revenues of 1.44 billion euros last year, controls Diesel, Maison Margiela and Marni and has recently increased its stake in Viktor & Rolf and invested in Amiri, the Los Angeles-based brand established in 2014.
This year, OTB’s CEO, Ubaldo Minelli, emphasized the strength of the group’s net financial position, totaling 111 million euros, up 32% compared with 2017, and net equity, which stands at 885 million euros. Based on these financial resources, a more efficient structure and a simplified and integrated organization, the group will invest 200 million euros in the next three years on an industrial development plan and, in particular, the company pointed to the expansion of the current perimeter of OTB through M&A operations.
While growing Diesel into a global sportswear brand over the years, Rosso has been building a diversified fashion group under OTB. Rosso purchased a majority stake in Maison Margiela in 2002, famously tapping John Galliano to helm it in 2014. As reported last month, Galliano has renewed his contract with Margiela. In 2008, Rosso acquired a majority stake in Viktor & Rolf and in 2012, he bought Marni, in 2015 taking full control of the brand, which is now designed by Francesco Risso, after the exit of founder Consuelo Castiglioni in 2016. Rosso also controls children’s wear producer Brave Kid.
This story was reported by WWD and originally appeared on WWD.com.