Raoul Designer Says New York Store Is Imminent

Raoul, the Singapore-based label gaining in popularity with US customers, is about to get even more serious about its American presence. "We're actively looking for a store somewhere along Madison Ave., or around that area," designer Odile Benjamin said backstage at Thursday's fall 2013 runway show in Singapore.
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Raoul, the Singapore-based label gaining in popularity with US customers, is about to get even more serious about its American presence. "We're actively looking for a store somewhere along Madison Ave., or around that area," designer Odile Benjamin said backstage at Thursday's fall 2013 runway show in Singapore.
A look from Thursday's show. Photo: Getty

A look from Thursday's show. Photo: Getty

Raoul, the Singapore-based label gaining in popularity with US customers, is about to get even more serious about its American presence.

"We're actively looking for a store somewhere along Madison Ave., or around that area," designer Odile Benjamin said backstage at Thursday's fall 2013 runway show in Singapore (a major highlight of this week's Audi Fashion Festival). "It's just a matter of finding the right store at the right price."

Benjamin launched Raoul 11 years ago with husband Douglas Benjamin. The family owns FJ Benjamin, a retail firm known for helping Western brands—from Guess to Givenchy—sell their goods in Asia. The collection, which was born out of Benjamin's desire for something that looked like luxury but was sold a digestible price, could be described as a working woman's answer to Carven. The shapes are less extreme-couture, but the sensibility is still very mid-Century and girlish.

Raoul is already stocked at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, but having its very own store Stateside would further cement the brand into shopper's brains.

And while Thursday was the first time the fall 2013 Raoul collection graced a runway, it has already been shown to buyers and editors at presentations during New York and Milan fashion weeks. Does that mean a New York catwalk show could be in the future? "I think in time we'll be well-known enough and have enough of a following to justify a runway show," Benjamin said. That time may come sooner than she thinks.

Disclosure: Asia Fashion Exchange flew me to Singapore and put me up in a hotel so that I could cover the shows.