You may know Rossignol, the 110-year-old French company, as a brand synonymous with high tech performance equipment used by world-class ski racers, and you would be right. In recent years the company has branched out and launched a premium technical apparel line and it chose Aspen to be the home of its first brick and mortar store in North America.
Rossignol storefront in the Benton building on Hyman Avenue
To commemorate the opening of the three-story boutique, Rossignol hosted a party and fashion show Jan. 18th. 300 guests wandered through the famous Benton Building to the top floor where a hallway connected the shop to the runway show overlooking Hunter Street.
Ruthie Prikryl opening the show
On the way upstairs party-goers checked out the pop-up within a pop-up: David Yurman has set up a mini-store, and on the top floor walked through an atelier run by Ski Butlers, a ski rental and delivery service with exclusive Rossignol gear.
Inside the party, guests noshed on crepes by Mawa McQueen while sipping WhistlePig whiskey, Vida Tequila and Nellcote wines.
The fashion show started at 8pm sharp, featuring Rossignol’s luxury skiwear modeled by Aspenites including Aspen Peak cover star Alison Woods and dancer Joeli Villa Cedeno.
Before the party, Aspen Peak sat down with Francois Goulet, President of the Rossignol Group in North America, to talk premium ski retail and the survival of legacy brands.
Goulet started his career with the French ski company before leaving for years to run sales and marketing for VF Corporation and The North Face. In 2017 he came back “home” to Rossi.
We want to know all about your new luxury skiwear line, can you tell us the genesis?
We say 'mountain to the city’ as we don’t like to use the word ‘fashion’ too much. I would call it ‘functional elegance’ more than fashion. We’ve got a design office in Milan that is focused more on the city side of our brand, and one in the Alps that is focused on the technical side. That’s the big bet for this group, to take this brand Rossignol and really build the apparel side. To be on snow and be doing activity, that’s our core, people love and trust our brand, they relate to its heritage, and now they can buy pieces that are more adopted for the city.
What made you want to do your own brick and mortar?
We view this as the opportunity to showcase the breadth of our product in the right environment. Here we’re in a historic building that’s got a legacy that was designed by a famous architect. Most pop-ups are small, but we decided to bring in a lot of our heritage, and to bring in David Yurman and Ski Butlers and make it more experiential. Brick and mortar is a great way to tell your brand story.
This market was such a natural for us. When I come here, I feel there are so many connections with our brand because it’s a skier community that has a lot of history in ski racing but that has become a very interesting cultural place.
What is the key to brand longevity?
The one thing you always need to do is never forget who you are and where you’re coming from. If you have a project that is what I call 'stretching,' going outside of your comfort zone, you’re going to be successful if you’re also focused on what your core business is. Be true to your brand DNA, your roots, if you focus on that it’s a lot easier to get consumers to respect and like what you’re doing.
Joeli Villa Cedeno
For more photos from the Rossignol event, click here.
Photography by: Photos by Ethan Harrison