Belgian fashion label Les Hommes has surfaced again after going through a difficult period. It has now opened a new successful store in Milan. "We have always been the most Italian of the Belgian fashion world", co-founder Tom Notte said.
"World comes to Milan for men's fashion"
"The world comes to Milan for men's fashion and that meant we had to come here as the world won't come to us", Tom Notte told Sabato, De Tijd's weekend appendix. He co-founded the company 16 years ago with Bart Vandebosch and has now opened a flagship store in Milan's luxury district, Porta Nuova. Vogue, Google and Maison Martin Margiela are some of its fashionable neighbours.
The duo already has a flagship store in Antwerp (Hopland 53) and also has some 100 stores worldwide, even though this store in Milan is a "very important one". Reputable architect firm Piuarch (also from Milan), elected as Italy's best architect firm of 2013, was asked to design the store.
Les Hommes may be doing well today, it was going through a very rough patch several years ago. A restructuring procedure, finalized in 2011, helped the company get through the difficult period. "It was tough, but we have learned a lot", Tom Notte said. "You question things and you question yourself, but you can't prepare for a worldwide financial crisis. If entire markets suddenly disappear, you are just out of luck. A top-notch collection can't help that."
Palmyra Brands, an investment company belonging to the Belgian Van den Brande family, invested several millions and that has helped the company. It took control of the business side and wants to help grow the brand's name in Asia: the Shanghai store, alongside a Chinese partner, should open in June 2015. It will also open 20 stores in China.
Les Hommes has now also signed a deal in Japan and has distribution deals in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.