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In Search of a Unicorn: A Mythical Brand Extension Exercise

Updated: May 2, 2022

As I have mentioned before, La Perla is one of my favorite lingerie brands. Not just because it’s Italian, and not because it’s expensive (it is, most definitely). Over the 60+ years since the company was founded, La Perla has stayed true to its principles – to offer classically-styled, very high quality garments that appeal to women who can afford them.

When the company was sold (the first time) to a venture capital firm in 2007, new management developed a brand extension – a bridge line at a lower price – in an effort to broaden the customer base. Unfortunately, as such experiments sometimes turn out, the brand extension failed miserably. Not only did it not attract new customers, it diluted the brand’s caché to the point that sales actually fell.

So, for our exercise in creating a new line of athleisure wear (or more to the point for La Perla, loungewear), I am going into this with eyes wide open, fully aware that current management would never attempt such a brash move.

Using patterns developed for Project #3 and trend research done for my previous post here, I am considering a line of loungewear that could double as athleisurewear through the use of innovative fabrics. The mere fact that I will be using patterns firmly puts this into Search for a Unicorn territory: La Perla never uses printed patterns. The only patterning that they use comes from lace trims, where the fabric itself is the pattern.

Herewith, I present the candidates for our mythical loungewear line:

This silk pajama set can become a track suit by using different fabrics and a somewhat different fit – such as tapered legs for running pants. My choice, though, would be to make it a loungewear outfit using the original silk with a pattern from Project #3.

This pajama top could become a tank top, and the sleep shorts could be running shorts. But I prefer to make them trendy – lingerie that can be worn as outerwear by using different fabrics (perhaps cotton).

The long robe pictured here could take on a new mission as an around-the-house staple by using a different fabric.

This short robe could become a comfy beach wrap.

And finally, these French-style knickers can be updated by replacing the lace trim with simple cutouts.

Where will this all coalesce? We’ll see shortly…

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