- Danielle Wightman-Stone |
British retailer Cath Kidston, widely known for its vintage prints and cutesy florals, has enlisted model and actress Poppy Delevingne to front its spring/summer 2019 campaign, as part of a new strategy to reposition the brand towards a younger audience.
The move is being called “pivotal” by the heritage brand, which was established 25 years ago, as it marks the first time in the retailer’s history that they have enlisted a celebrity face to promote its products in an ad campaign, and comes as Cath Kidston’s losses hit 10.5 million pounds last year.
Cath Kidston chief executive, Melinda Paraie, told Fashionunited over e-mail that Delevingne, who has previously modelled for brands including Laura Ashley, Burberry and Louis Vuitton, was chosen as the brand’s first celebrity face as she “speaks to the sensibility of Cath Kidston, as a youthful, spirited British brand”.
The campaign shows Delevingne wearing a blue velvet suit while carrying the brand’s new powder blue leather bag with strap detailing, in a fantasy flower-filled taxi, created by renowned set designer, Simon Costin and shot by British photographer Thomas Cooksey, to present the brand’s new design direction, which has a more sophisticated and refined feel.
“Our campaign reflects our strong British heritage in an unexpected and modern way that resonates with our customers globally,” explains Paraie. “While we continue to evolve our product portfolio, and present new and exciting designs as part of our brand story, heartland florals remain an important element of our brand’s foundation and appeal.”
Cath Kidston enlists celebrity face to spearhead revival
Spring/summer 2019 also showcases the brand’s new design direction of bags, which includes the new colour pop leather collection, as well as new distinctive hand-drawn prints created in-house at the Cath Kidston design studio and three new bag styles in three sizes that will launch in March in the run-up to the Mother’s Day. This will coincide with another campaign fronted by Delevingne, where she has been photographed in a world of real flowers and framed flower-filled walls.
Paraie, added: “We are constantly innovating our products, and the introduction of the leather bag collection along with a new Red Label range, which features elevated materials and design details, are examples of that strategy. We have a strong fan-base, and the new campaign features both print and digital assets, which appeal to both our core customer and new customers.”
Commenting on working with Cath Kidston, Delevingne, who is also the young ambassador for the British Fashion Council, said: “Being a Londoner, Cath Kidston is a brand that I grew up with. So I have a connection with it that is heart felt and true. I’ve always admired their beautiful and bold prints and their sometimes kooky, very British, sense of style. Also the new creative team that they’ve assembled is magic; it was a dream working with them.”
While Delevingne may be the first celebrity face, last year the brand also launched its first collaboration with a celebrity, with TV and radio personality Fearne Cotton. The 34-piece collection spanned across fashion, accessories and home, and included new shapes and styles for Cath Kidston including a Boilersuit made in a super soft chambray fabric, a statement Bomber jacket, and new canvas totes with cheeky slogans such as ‘Carry Me’.
The successful debut Fearne Cotton collaboration will be followed up with a second range that will launch at the end of March, as a continued push by the retailer for a younger audience.
Cath Kidston focuses on becoming a global brand in 2019
As well as investing in new product developments, Cath Kidston’s chief executive also expressed that the brand was focusing on becoming a global brand as it pushes forward with its new artistic direction.
“We have strong design developments in products as well as exciting collaborations planned in for 2019,” added Paraie. “In addition, we are investing in opening new stores in both the UK and in Japan this year, along with continued focus on growing our brand globally.”
Last year the retailer reported sales increase of 1.2 percent to 130.7 million pounds, with sales in the UK increasing by 5.1 percent including a 20.3 percent growth in online sales to 91.3 million pounds, helped by the success of its Disney collaboration that included launches for Mickey Mouse’s 90th anniversary and Bambi.
While International sales on a comparable basis were up 0.5 percent with sales in Japan rising by 5.4 percent including online sales growth of 163 percent at constant currency, partially offset by weakness in the Middle East.
Asia continues to be a big focus for the brand, especially Japan where it opened nine stores in 2018 and plans to add a further 10 for this financial year. It also signed a new franchise deal with China with the potential to add 50 new stores over the next five years.
Founded in 1993 with a single shop in London’s Holland Park, Cath Kidston’s store portfolio has grown to more than 200. It now sells its accessories, home furnishings, clothing and products for kids and women in more than 15 countries.
Image: courtesy of Cath Kidston