Luxury brands have, for many years, sold us status and style. And the more successful ones have been those that have mastered the art of convincing us that their brand name alone is worth paying that little extra for.
But what if that brand name was yours and yours alone — not a high-end brand that a few other people may also own?
A new service that recently launched in the UAE wants to give you that, well, luxury. Private Haute Couture, the brainchild of US-based entrepreneur Christophe Petyt, puts your name on the label of luxury goods that you have created, with the help of an expert of course, to your specifications. Think bags, jackets, shoes… anything, it’s a product that is made to your requirement to the last detail, with your name on it. It doesn’t get more personalised than this.
The Directory recently spoke with Petyt about his venture, why he thinks it will work and where else he wants to take his service to.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for Private Haute Couture?
A: The idea for the Private Haute Couture line came about just by coincidence, while working in Los Angeles for a high profile family of singers, I found myself constantly working with bespoke suppliers and custom designing jackets and accessories for them. This was not done with the intention of creating the Private Haute Couture label, however, we received great feedback from many people, including stylists and personal shoppers. I think that was a sign when more and more potential customers were asking me about these bespoke pieces — I started conceptualising the idea of creating a label.
Q: How long did it take you to set it up?
A: It took about 18 months to set everything up — from finalising the concept, researching suppliers and getting into the detailing of leather types, styles and accessories. The idea was to create a unique brand and everyone can make their own too. It was important to explore suppliers of leather and that was a time-consuming process but we are all set now with the best team.
Q: Isn’t haute couture already very private?
A: Haute Couture is private, however, when you are purchasing a product it is still under another designer’s label. Private Haute Couture is about the clients having their own fashion label — where the product is truly their own. Every final product has the client’s label on it which then singles out Private Haute Couture from others.
Q: So, how does it work?
A: The Private Haute Couture invites clients for a one-on-one consultation, getting an insight of the client’s requirements and personality that could be matched to the product. Once the product selection has been determined like jacket, shoes, bags, accessories, purses or jewellery, the next step is to choose the type of leather from a selection that includes exotic skins such as crocodile, snake, ostrich , fish, café, etc. After this confirmation has been made, the client’s appointment with the designing team is set to start the initial process. The designer and client have an interactive session to find out the client’s expectations and styles. After the final design has been presented to the client, the production process begins. A sample in the leather is presented to the client and the teams sits again to go through modifications if any before the final process. The production of the selected leather and details of zippers, lining and stitching are done.
Q: How many people do you have working in the team? What are each of their specialisation?
A: We are continuously growing the team — at the moment, we have a specialist in charge of production of jackets and works solely on this. Bags and accessories are handled by another designer while another expert works on shoes. Jewellery and additional pieces are designed based on client’s specifications and we work with our in-house jewellery designer for these requirements. We have recently appointed a sales team in the US. We are currently looking to expand our marketing team to service international outreach.
Q: How did you find these people?
A: The research that we have done has been tedious, contacting some of the top production houses in Italy, France and the US — who are known for their high quality production work with leathers. Some of the suppliers were introduced and directed to us by other top-notch suppliers. It has been an incredible journey — exploring the exclusive world of the most prestigious production houses in the world.
Q: What kind of reception have you received from customers?
A: We have received amazing feedback from clients who consider this concept unique. Unlike other luxury brands, we work closely with our clients to provide solutions to his requirements. This has gained us favourable results with many ordering more products from us.
Q: What kind of requests have you received so far?
A: We have received all sorts of request, whether it’s the jackets or accessories — the client list is growing. Just recently, we received an enquiry from Switzerland from a client who is looking for a specific crocodile leather jacket with matching travel bags and briefcase set — so this is really exclusive; the client is looking to add to this collection with accessories and complete luggage sets. Another order we also are processing right now is a prestigious case fro a wine collector who wants a travel case for his favourite wine and Baccarat glasses when he is travelling. So, we are constantly challenged but this is the beauty of bespoke pieces.
Q: Who is your target customer?
A: Our dream client is one who appreciates finer details and is specific in his preference. We usually target individuals who have certain style and product expectations and work to deliver that enquiry. Our goal is to cater to every enquiry and deliver luxury and exclusive product to customers who demand nothing but quality products.
Q: What are the costs of your services, say, in making a custom-made jacket?
A: The price points vary because nothing is off the shelf. Everything depends on the selection of leathers, lining. accesories, etc. because they are all selected based on the client’s preference. The leathers we use are very high quality and genuine products, so we don’t price anything. The session with our customers is intense since we present a variety of leather and accessories options such as zippers, studs, buttons and so on. It’s important for our clients to see the catalogue of the product and accordingly, we work on the final piece. This applies to the accessories too.
Q: Why do you think a service like Private Haute Couture’s works?
A: Private Haute Couture has its clients involved throughout the designing process. We are not off the rack; we are a unique concept of interactive designing and their name is embossed in the final product which again is a concept in itself. This is a new experience in bespoke designing and for such high profile clients, it’s a fashion piece that they totally own. The custom-made/bespoke industry is booming across every sector but with Private Haute Couture, we give you your own label too.
Q: What next for Private Haute Couture?
A: We are currently touring and promoting the business across other parts of the Middle East, targeting high profile clientele and promoting the brand across key fashion markets. We are working closely with an excellent team of partners from around the world and are constantly adding to our product line. Private Haute Couture plans to design the world’s most expensive jacket — we are currently working out the design elements for this but moreover, we are looking at more accessories for both men and women and expand into key markets in 2014.
*To get your own Private Haute Couture, go to PrivateHauteCouture.com