German fashion company
Founded: René Lezard Mode GmbH founded in 1978, Schwarzach, Wurzburg, by Thomas Schaefer. Company History: Specializes in womenswear, sportswear, and menswear; main lines are Classic, Excess, Sophisticated, plus Denim House; licensee products include shirts (Asoni), ties (Albisetti), belts (Condor), and leather accessories (Traveller); added footwear line, 2000; exports to Europe, U.S, and Asia; annual show at Herren-Mode-Woche (Cologne). Company Address: Industriestrasse 2, D-97359 Schwarzach, Germany. Company Website: www.rene-lezard.de .
On RENÉ LEZARD:
Erlick, June C., "René Lezard Establishes U.S. Group," in DNR, 13August 1991.
"Jennifer Nichols Joins René Lezard Fashion Group Inc. as Director of Sales and Marketing," in DNR, 8 January 1992.
Gellers, Stan, "Suit Makers Doubling Up for Fall," in DNR, 15 April 1993.
D'Aulnay, Sophie, "Suitably German," in DNR, 8 July 1996.
Conti, Samantha, "U.S. Still a Tasty Carrot for Hungry German Companies," in DNR, 11 February 1998.
Mui, Nelson, and James Fallon, "René Lezard to Make a Splash in 2000," in DNR, 8 November 1999.
"Multiple Choice: If a Little of What You Fancy Does You Good,Then the Fall New York Collections Should Benefit Many," in WWD, 8 February 2000.
Boye, Brian, and Brian Scott Lipton, "Spreading the Nudes," in DNR, 16 June 2000.
Gellers, Stan, "From Power Suits to Power Sportswear," in DNR, 28August 2000.
Weldon, Kristi, "The Men's Business Suit: Extinct, or Just Evolving?" in Apparel Industry Magazine, October 2000.
McCants, Leonard, and Julee Greenberg, "Bold Blueprints to Boost Brands," in WWD, 5 December 2000.
Cunningham, Thomas, "Old World Elegance with New Twists Stars at Cologne," in DNR, 7 February 2001.
Company philosophy—planned growth, team work and strong relationships with our clients are our top priorities. Product philosophy—offering a unique collection, using the highest quality fabrics available, the prerequisite for a smart mix of fashion.
René Lezard is a medium-sized German fashion group making clothes for men and women. Neither high fashion nor cheap mass-market, René Lezard makes quality outfits and separates for High Street shops throughout Germany in what's known as the "gold" range—a bit less than designer but above bridge collections. René Lezard is a top German fashion brand and company, making quality, everyday clothes for practical lives. The clothes have a very practical, Northern European look and feel: thick, warm, heavy-duty office, leisure, and outdoor wear, distinctively German or middle European. The accent is on tailoring, not cut; fabrics are expensive but not flashy. The look is smart-somber, like a Northern European city in the rain or snow.
Fabrics used by the company include soft fleeces and refined leathers, warm corduroys and smooth velvets, thick tweeds, heavy lambswool and cashmere. Colors include all the darker shades of brown, gray, green, and blue, some dark mustard, some burgundy, and more recently denim and bright colors were added to the mix. The occasional item or outfit shines out in mother-of-pearl or cream. Though the styles are very classical, René Lezard seems more influenced by English fashion than French. The overall composition is pure German, with homegrown lines and styles. Shoulders are soft; upper parts are unrestricted and loose. There are many buttons and buttonholes, turnups, dark linings, high collars. The overall look is soft and loose, dry and warm. The smart chic of the clothes comes through the choice of refined color and fine fabric.
The company's range is comprehensive—for men, there are suits, jackets, vests, trousers, coats, sport jackets, shirts, neckties, belts, knitwear, t-shirts, polo neck sweaters, leathers, and most recently footwear. These are split into three lines: Classic, the basic elements of the collection; Excess, the young, approachable, commercial range; and Sophisticated, the fashionwear and experimental items. Similarly for women the range covers suits, trousers, skirts, blazers, coats, leatherwear, knitwear, blousons, and belts. Denim House is a mass-market brand, with jeans, shirts, jackets, and waistcoats clearly aimed at the High Street and a young adult market that buys one or more items to build or expand an existing wardrobe. In addition to the above, René Lezard uses licensee products within the collection: Asoni shirts, Albisetti ties, Condor belts, Traveller leather accessories.
René Lezard's strength is in finding its niche both in Europe and the U.S.—adults in the middle-age range who are willing to pay for stylish, practical, quality clothing that delivers as promised. The strategy paid off with strong growth in New York's SoHo district, which was treated to the company's first American store in September 1997, and corporate leaders are now looking toward Florida or the West Coast for future boutiques. The women's apparel is especially strong in the U.S. and sold in many Saks and Bergdorf Goodman locations. Men's apparel is primarily found in independent specialty stores, although the company is working to expand in the market.
René Lezard is actively seeking growth, particularly in the U.S., with increased spending for advertising, a "virtual showroom" website to interact with customers and professionals, sponsored trips for art students to Normandy, and by building ties with the art community, such as through sponsorship of the New York Academy of Arts benefit event "Take Home a Nude." The high quality and fit of René Lezard, coupled with its gold-level niche status, is sure to grow in popularity.
—Sally Anne Melia;
updated by Carrie Snyder