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Boux Avenue places design at heart of new strategy

Lauretta Roberts
30 August 2019

Boux Avenue has moved to a new in-house design-led approach and premium positioning for AW19, and has unveiled the first designs from its new brand & product director Zoe Price-Smith.

The lingerie retailer, which was founded eight years ago and has 30 stores in the UK, had previously bought in its designs. It appointed Price-Smith in February of this year to build an in-house design team and set a new brand direction; she had previously been global design director at Hunkemoller.

Her appointment followed that of Michael Kerr, who joined the Theo Paphitis-owned business at the end of 2018 after spending 35 years at Marks & Spencer, where he held various senior positions across lingerie, menswear, childrenswear and homewares.

Following analysis of customer data the pair decided to sharpen their focus on a 27-30 year old woman and cover the categories of lingerie, sleepwear, swimwear and accessories with a common brand handwriting and "one tone of voice" across all products. "We fully believe design will take our business to the next level," said Kerr.

Boux Avenue

The first manifestation of the new strategy is the introduction of a new premium line Bouxtique by Boux Avenue, which hits stores on 6 November in time for the Christmas trading period.

The 38-piece collection has a Parisian-inspired, vintage feel that focuses on premium fabrics, elevated silhouettes and an inclusive size range (28-40, A-G cup).

New design details include guipure embroideries, iridescent yarns in gunmetal shades exclusive to Boux Avenue, and honeycomb ground netting. Laces have been refreshed with French-inspired eyelash and delicate, clipped lace with vintage floral placements. Traditional corsetry techniques have been introduced in its basques and waspies such as traditional buck fastenings, back detail and satin ties.

Boux Avenue

"Being design-led means leading from the front and driving our own trends," said Price-Smith. She added: "It's about gaining market share, turning heads, breaking the rules and being completely unique."

Prices for the Bouxtique range will be slightly higher than its main line with knickers from around £20, bras at £40 and a basque at £70. However Kerr pointed out that the retailer's current best-seller was a long-line Art Deco-inspired lace bra, called Odette, which retails for £36.

The retailer is also upping its game in the fashion hosiery space with the introduction of a larger collection in September with 35 options; it previously had 15. "Our aim is that for fashion hosiery, you wouldn't need to go anywhere else," said Kerr.

Boux Avenue

Fit and inclusive sizing is central to all of its ranges with 60% of its bra sales from size DD or above and, while the retailer will design with the 27-30 year old customer in mind, it was not "alienating" anyone. "However old you are, we can make you feel better," said Price-Smith.

Kerr added that the retailer's boutique approach and store size meant greater focus was needed. "At 1,200 to 1,500 sq ft, which is what our stores typically are, we're a small boutique store and you can't do everything for everybody," he said, adding that the need for focus was also a demand from its customers of all ages.

Price-Smith's designs will be rolled out across the full collection in the coming months and the new brand vision will be evident in brand campaigns, social media marketing and visual merchandising.

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