The Brand Council case studies: Cacharel

Originally published in 'Cool BrandLeaders', August 2002. The book reviews the UK's strongest cool brands as judged by the independent Brand Council Judges.

Case study provided by The Brand Council.

Recently relaunched with an upbeat new image and innovative design team, Cacharel ready-to-wear clothing enjoys a following on par with some of the largest French fashion labels. This enviable position is enhanced by the company's portfolio of fine fragrances, which have contributed significantly to the brand's recognition on a global scale.

Cacharel was founded in 1962 by the current President Director General, Jean Bousquet, who designed his very first pieces of clothing in Paris in the mid 1950s. The success of his creations prompted Jean to start up his own company, which he called Cacharel, a name inspired by a wild bird found in the marshes of Camarguein Southern France, an area with which Jean Bousquet has very strong links.

At the time, Cacharel was one of the first design houses to introduce the idea of ready-to-wearclothing as an alternative to couture designs. A young movie starlet of the time -- Brigitte Bardot -- wore brightly coloured Cacharel shirts tied under her bosom to launch the label.

Just a year after the company was founded, one of Jean Bousquet's shirts also appeared on the cover of Elle magazine. This exposure propelled the Cacharel label into stores worldwide and by the end of the year 300,000 shirts were sold.

In partnership with Annegret Beier, the creative force behind the packaging for all Cacharel fragrances, the first fragrance, Anaïs Anaïs, was launched in 1978. This classic, floral scent with its rounded bottle and delicately coloured packaging continues to be in the top five best-selling women's perfumes today in the UK, where 1.7 bottles are sold every minute.

The 1980s saw the creation of two more fragrances, Cacharel Pour Homme and LouLou, a sensual fragrance inspired by film star Louise Brooks. The following decade saw the introduction of three additional fragrances - Eden, LouLou Blue and Eau D'Eden. On the eve of the new millennium, NOA, the 'gifted fragrance' with its messages of wisdom and intuition, was born, winning the prestigious FiFi Award for Best European Perfume in 1999.

Gloria, the latest chapter in the Cacharel story of modern femininity, is poised to re-energise the fragrances portfolio with its colourful, sensual and dynamic "rock chick" image and fiery romanticism.

In 2000, British husband and wife team Inacio Ribeiro and Suzanne Clements, known as Clements Ribeiro, took over the design and relaunch of the Cacharel ready-to-wear line. Long-standing fans of the Cacharel designs of the 1960s, they decided to tap into the brand's history for their first collection spring/summer 2001, indulging in a carnival of colour and pattern with a funky, modern twist.

The launch show saw Cacharel ready-to-wear returning to the Paris runways for the first time in 20 years, signalling a rebirth for the brand. One of the hottest tickets during Paris Fashion Week, the kudos of the brand was significantly elevated.

In early 2002, Clements Ribeiro designed a limited-edition bottle for Anaïs Anaïs. Featuring a beautiful, delicate pink signature toile de jouy print, the bottle celebrated in concrete terms the link between Cacharel fashion and fragrance. Cacharel now boasts more than 1,000 retail outlets worldwide, including 55 stores. The Cacharel brand is embarking on a new and exciting journey for the 21st century. Rejuvenated, revitalised and more contemporary, the seeds for the future development of the Cacharel brand have been sown.

© 2002 Superbrands Ltd