HECHTER, Daniel





French designer

Born: Paris, 30 July 1938. Education: Completed trade school education, 1956. Family: Married Marika Hechter; married Jennifer Chambon, 1980; children: Carinne. Military Service: Served in the French Army, 1958-60. Career: Delivery boy, Paris ready-to-wear firm, 1956; formed own design studio, 1956; salesman, then designer, Pierre d'Alby, Paris, 1960-62; founder and designer, the Hechter Group, from 1962; added children's line, 1965; introduced mens-wear, 1968; active sportswear and home furnishings lines introduced, 1970; added accessory range, 1976; launched furniture collection, 1983; offered first men's fragrance, 1989; created DH 621 men's line, 1994; added second men's fragrance, 1996. Address: 4 Ter, Avenue Hoche, 75008 Paris, France. Website: www.hechtermontres.com .

P UBLICATIONS

By HECHTER:

Books

Le Boss, Paris, 2000.

On HECHTER:

Books

Stegemeyer, Anne, Who's Who in Fashion, Third Edition, New York,1996.

Articles

Moor, Johnathan, "The Americanization of Daniel Hechter," in DNR, 21 January 1980.

——, "Daniel Hechter: Taking it Easy…With Enthusiasm," in DNR, 18 August 1980.

Wood, Mary Ann, "Daniel Hechter: Bringing High Fashion Down to Earth," in Fashion Retailer N.E., November 1980.

Highe, Jackie, "Decision Makers: The Fashion Dictators," in Living (London), 13 July 1983.

"Court Orders Removal of Anti-Hechter Posters," in WWD, 4 December 1988.

D'Aulnay, Sophie, "Daniel Hechter: Coming to America—Again," in DNR, 12 July 1993.

——, "The Directional Daniel Hechter," in DNR, 25 January 1996.

"Lapidus: Fantasy Becomes Fragrance" in European Cosmetic Markets, 1 April 1997.

"Celebrities in Switzerland: Daniel Hechter," available online at switzerland.isyours.com , Micheloud & Co., 6 June 2001.

"Daniel Hechter," available online at www.hechtermontres.com , 6June 2001.

***

Daniel Hechter was one of the first designers to recognize the commercial viability of lifestyle dressing and has marketed the concept with enormous success, today exporting to some 47 countries and licensing goods in the U.S., South America, Europe, Australia, and Canada. In many ways, he provided the inspiration for the 1980s' explosion of lifestyle concepts in retailing.

Hechter identified his particular market as including the young, sometimes married with children, upwardly mobile 20-to 30-somethings, who may not have the income to finance the designer lifestyle and fashionable appearance to which they aspire. As a mass market designer, it is essential to be able to perceive what is right for the moment, particularly when dealing with the fickle youth-oriented market. Hechter's taste and style have often been directed by the unpredictable forces of pop, club, and street culture, and his business rapidly prospered because of his adaptability and speed.

Born into a family who owned a ready-to-wear company, Hechter was brought up in an environment sympathetic to fashion. He worked for designer Pierre d'Alby from 1958 before opening his own house in 1962 with friend Armand Orustein. The company opened with a womenswear collection that captured the developing need of the 1960s—young, fun, and sometimes throwaway. He produced sweaters, maxi coats, trouser suits, smoking jackets, gabardine raincoats, and boot top-length divided skirts. His casual jersey and ribbed duffle coats and greatcoats emphasized his skills for sophisticated unisex outerwear, sporty yet wearable and stylish.

The business grew to incorporate many areas of fashion and clothing design, producing shoes, sunglasses, school uniforms, corporate wear, and tennis and ski clothes. He also moved into designing for the home, broadening his lifestyle concepts by producing household linens furniture, crystal stemware, and patterns for china place settings. Other additions to the Hechter line were men's fragrances: Caractére in 1989, promoted as a simple, warm scent, and XXL in 1996, said to have a woodsy, energetic character.

The company has been a regular employer of fashion design graduates from all over the world. Hechter believes this inserts a continual flow of fresh ideas and invigorates the Daniel Hechter image. The company exports goods and has numerous licensing contracts throughout the world, as well as operating its own boutiques in nearly every Western European country, one in Russia, fourteen in Asia or the Middle East, three in Africa, two in South America, and two in the United States. The company is looking toward Eastern Europe for further expansion. The success of the business has sparked Hechter's creative flow—he developed a new line of clothing using natural fabrics called DH 621. The products were first launched in Israel in 1994 and spread to Asia from there. Hechter says the clothing falls between casual and sportswear and costs a bit less than his other lines.

Hechter attributes his success to his practical, matter-of-fact approach to design. He displays none of the airs or temperament associated with the stereotypical fashion designer. In fact, Hechter has allowed his personal interests to shape and extend the direction of the company. Sports have been a lifelong passion, and in 1972 he cofounded the Paris Saint-Germain Football Club. Years later, in 1998, he designed the streetwear for the French Soccer World Cup team. His support of tennis with over 20 years of annual parties during the French Open led to a request from the French Tennis Federation for him to create the umpires' outfits in 1993.

Hechter has also dabbled in politics, sitting on the Marseilles Regional Council since 1992. In 1997 he moved to Geneva, Switzerland, and wrote a novel entitled Le Boss, published in 2000. Daniel Hechter has used his personal experiences to perceive and fill voids left by others in the fashion world.

—Kevin Almond;

updated by Carrie Snyder

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