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Jun 3, 2009
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First catwalk for Angèle Baptist in conflict with Chanel

By
AFP
Published
Jun 3, 2009

BESANÇON, 30 May 2009 (AFP) – Neither the court summons against its former principal client, Chanel, nor the wandering in the wilderness which followed have finished off the textile company World Tricot: its founder, Carmen Colle, has organised the first catwalk of her brand “Angèle Baptist” in Besançon.


A runway model for the brand "Angèle Baptist", 29 May 2009 in Besançon - Photo : AFP

“To dare to create a brand and to wear a new brand, that’s to dare to be free. It is being unconventional and it is to dare to be yourself,” declared Carmen Colle, manager of World Tricot, a few hours before the first catwalk show of her brand organised on the evening of Firday 30 May by the association “Friends of World Tricot”.

On the stage, the “Angèle Baptist” autumn-winter collection of upmarket, ready-to-wear items – taking its name from the mother and father of Mrs Colle - comprising a range of woolen clothes with strong character.

Alpaca, wire or mohair in grayscale and colours like beige, orange, red, white and green were mixed together during the catwalk put together by the American Marc Reed, which was shown to 200 spectators.

The collections of the business, based in Lure (Haure-Saône) and specializing in knitwear, woolens, luxury, remeshing and the creation of tissue samples, are aimed at people who want to “rediscover a woolen, a handmade character” in their clothes, stressed Carmen Colle.

Since its inception in 1990, the Haure-Saônoise company had subcontracted for the biggest names in high fashion, from Dior to Hermès passing by Chanel, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Givenchy and Kenzo.

But, in September 2005, World Tricot sued the prestigious fashion house Chanel, with whom it had had a partnership since 1999, for “counterfeiting and parasitism” and “breach of contract”. World Tricot called for €2 million in damages and interest.

Carmen Colle stated having recognized one of the models in the window of a Chanel boutique during a stay in Tokyo. The date of judicial proceeding is not yet known.

Since the beginning of litigation, ‘it is like we were smothered, like we were a prisoner, mired”, “the doors are closing”, and “the company remains fragile, no bank wants to follow us”, deplored the manager who is having difficulty in finding new sub-contracts in luxury clothing.

At the end of January, World Tricot, which had previously filed for bankruptcy protection, was granted a continuation of activity by the commerce tribunal of Vesoul, envisaging better days. The company now employs twelve people, down from some ninety employees between 1999 and 2001.

Carmen Colle, who has the task of “opening a school in Lure for all traditional subjects which concern wool”, prefers to move forward rather than ruminate on the conflict with Chanel, which has a “gag” she said which will “last for four years”.

The brand will from now on be marketed in a boutique that was opened in September 2008 in Paris and in the factory outlet in Lure; its founder is dreaming of reconstituting a sales network, complete with international outlets.

Aware of these assets, the manager of this limited responsibility business has seen the company through to today thanks to “a cheque for 20,000 francs (€3,000)” from the Abbot Pierre, the purpose of which was to find work for women with difficulties in social insertion, is now planning a new start for Angèle Baptist, brought home by the first catwalk which seemed “unreal” to her.

By Jonathan Fulwell (Source: AFP/Angela SCHNAEBELE)

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