[INTERVIEW] Sophie Lacoste: Fusalp, awakening a sleeping ski beauty as a luxury brand

Sophie Lacoste, co-founder of Maison Fusalp, was a guest at the recent Assises Juridiques de la mode et du design. As a press partner, LUXUS PLUS was able to talk to her about the transformation of this sleeping beauty of skiwear into a luxury brand in its own right.

 

Founded in 1952 in Annecy, Fusalp was for a long time a big name in technical ski clothing before falling into disuse. Bought back in 2014, after selling shares in the family business, Sophie Lacoste, granddaughter of René Lacoste, founder of the crocodile brand, was keen to revitalize this nugget by bringing all her sportswear expertise to bear.

 

Now considered a true French success story, both in France and abroad, the company has already opened 64 stores and made its debut on American soil. Our aim is always to share the conversation between technical expertise, tailoring know-how and elegance.

 

LUXUS PLUS: One of your strategic shifts has been to move away from focusing solely on the winter sports season, and turn it into a “timeless” luxury ready-to-wear brand. How do you move away from the world of skiing?

 

Sophie Lacoste: The question was how to use our technical know-how to transpose it to men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, and above all to offer outfits suited to the off-season and the city. We had to think about the added value of our garments, whether in terms of protection or thermoregulation. The spring-summer 2024 collection that has just arrived in stores is representative of our desire to bring agility to our customers while being graphic and luxurious.

 

L+: Let’s go back to the genesis of your acquisition of Fusalp in 2014. What were your priorities? How did you envision the brand’s development?

 

Sophie Lacoste: Our priority was to restore the strong identity of a brand that had become very inward-looking. To do this, we drew inspiration from its heritage and rehabilitated its original logo, which it had even abandoned. Although the products were of good quality, they were rather entry-level. The potential for an upmarket strategy was obvious. For us, it was necessary to revive our relationship with the highly sculpted body, through the House’s stylistic icon, the spindle-shaped pant. We also had to rework our distribution network. At the time, 80% of our sales came from the major retailers Intersport and Sport 2000. But with jackets costing 250 euros, the business model was not viable. So we began by opening our first boutique in the Marais on rue des Blancs-Manteaux and mini pop-up stores in upmarket resorts like Courchevel and Verbier.

 

L+: When you bought Fusalp, the company had sales of 5 million euros. Today, we’re up to 60 million euros, 400 points of sale and 64 stores. That’s a meteoric rise in the space of 10 years. How do you explain this success? Beyond France, how do you see your geographic expansion in terms of store openings?

 



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Read also>[INTERVIEW] ASSISES JURIDIQUES 2024: EMMANUELLE HOFFMAN EXPLAINS THE LEGAL CHALLENGES FACING THE LUXURY AND FASHION INDUSTRIES

Featured photo : © Fusalp

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Victor Gosselin
Victor Gosselin is a journalist specializing in luxury, HR, tech, retail, and editorial consulting. A graduate of EIML Paris, he has been working in the luxury industry for 9 years. Fond of fashion, Asia, history, and long format, this ex-Welcome To The Jungle and Time To Disrupt likes to analyze the news from a sociological and cultural angle.

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