The two-piece bikini, exposing the navel, put Réard on the map in 1946.
Richard Emanuel, the brand’s chairman and serial entrepreneur best known for his investments in telecom, acquired the intellectual property assets of the brand a few years ago. He said the plan is to do the relaunch this spring via a dedicated e-commerce platform, and then throughout the balance of the year and part of 2018 to introduce the brand to key department store doors. According to Emanuel, the company would then test pop-up locations next year at select resorts, with an eye toward building out company-branded retail sites, possibly in 2019.
The brand is targeting the luxury space, where swimwear’s starting price point is $200, but can go as high as $650. According to data provided by Emanuel, the global swimwear market could reach $28.3 billion by 2020, while the U.S. market could reach $4.5 billion in 2018.
Louis Réard, a French automobile engineer who became a fashion designer, founded the Réard brand. It was Réard who, in 1946, created the first two-piece swimsuit that dared to expose the wearer’s navel, which he named the bikini. He and his wife moved to Lausanne, Switzerland in 1980. Without any children to take over the family business, the brand essentially languished following Réard’s passing in 1984.
According to Emanuel, the original Réard was created using a newsprint fabric. The updated capsule line, which will include one-piece suits, will be constructed using a high-fiber, maximum elastane content material called Lycra Xtra Life. The capsule collection will include swimsuits, as well as complementary accessories and resortwear. The reintroduction will be the first time the Réard brand will be back in the markets in more than 40 years.
Emanuel, a Scotsman by birth, flew in from Monaco where he lives to present at an International Women’s Day event Wednesday hosted by Karine Ohana, partner at investment banking firm Ohana & Co. The presentations were moderated by Susan Rockefeller of Protect What is Precious and Kara Ross of Diamonds Unleashed. Other presenters include: David and Zachary Batstone, founders of Not for Sale and Z’shoes; Scott and Missy Tannen, founders of Boll & Branch, and Francine LeFrak, founder of Same Sky.