The trend has been going on for quite a while now: Sacha Pivovarova for H&M, Stella Tennant for Zara and just recently Kate Moss for Mango. When I see these campaigns, I “believe” them.
But, I don’t understand what Esprit is trying to do with Gisele Bundchen. I just don’t buy it. The brand is trying very hard to re-position itself, but somehow it is not working. On paper, they have done everything right, but why doesn’t it seem “true”? Gisele Bundchen is attractive and credible, but do you see her actually wearing Esprit? There is no compatibility between Esprit and Gisele in terms of identity, personality, positioning in the market and lifestyle.
The brand, with Californian roots, is actually in Chinese hands now. Net profit in 2011 decreased with 74% compared to 2010. Almost all of this decrease was due to the Wholesale department. The Chinese fashion giant is leaving the North-America market and will concentrate more on Europe and Asia. It’s clear that something needs to happen!
The group announced a repositioning of its Esprit brand towards a more expressive and self-conscious style and public. To make this repositioning more concrete and test the new style, Esprit is opening three concept stores in Belgium and Germany. Antwerp (April) and Düsseldorf (July) will learn from the (largely positive) experiences of the very first concept store in Cologne, where 25% more people visited the store and each spent 54% more than in the old store.
The future will tell us if with Gisele Bundchen, Esprit will be able to bring the brand to another level. I’m rather skeptical…