THE ANGELS – There’s maybe no higher place to look at Hollywood working than the Beverly Hills Lodge’s Polo Lounge at 9am on a Friday morning, and the crew behind denim model Body — co-founder and artistic director Erik Torstensson and CEO Nicolas Dreyfus — have positioned themselves at a lacquered wooden sales space within the middle of all of it.
In walks a Birkin-toting Nicky Hilton Rothschild, quickly to be joined by her good friend, Oscar de la Renta designer Fernando Garcia. Out walks Snapchat’s SVP of content material, Ben Schwerin, with Bob Iger, simply days earlier than it was introduced that he would come out of retirement to rejoin Disney as its CEO. Torstensson and Dreyfus obtain nods, and change a couple of hellos. Quickly sufficient, founding father of RXBar, Peter Rahal, is standing at their desk, keen to point out off the tag on his T-shirt. He is sporting head-to-toe Body, he says, and Torstensson is delighted.
“I could not have organized it higher,” he laughs.
Rahal’s impromptu look actually tucks neatly into Torstensson’s rigorously crafted narrative. Body, the premium denim enterprise that he began with Jens Grede in 2012, when shoppers have been extra considering Lululemon leggings than denims, not solely succeeded however thrived, turning into a life-style model rooted in denim, reasonably than a denim model with nothing else to say .
Now, Tortensson needs vogue credibility, and he is employed a yet-to-be-named designer — a heavyweight from Europe, he says — to offer the collections an actual identification in 2023. There are plans to stage a runway present. Can Dreyfus and Torstensson go the place no denim model has convincingly gone earlier than — out of Los Angeles, no much less? (Diesel, whose designer, Glenn Martens, is critically lauded, would be the one exception.) Torstensson says it will be a “mixture of what Paris does finest — with regards to every thing from picture to garments and merchandise — and what California and LA has when it comes to know-how and modernity,” which, if executed correctly, might consequence within the “most fun factor in American vogue.”
Financially, Body is in a strong place. In 2022, the corporate generated about $170 million in gross sales, up 50 p.c from pre-pandemic ranges. (The corporate declined to share 2021 figures.) Profitability on an EBITDA (earnings earlier than curiosity, taxes, depreciation and amortization) foundation is up greater than 90 p.c from 2019, partly because of a tripling of e-commerce gross sales. (The enterprise now generates 30 p.c of its income by means of direct-to-consumer channels, up from 20 p.c pre-pandemic.)
Regardless of the difficult economic system, Dreyfus, who joined the enterprise in March 2020 after co-founding (and promoting) French modern model The Kooples, is assured that Body can proceed constructing out its expertise bench in Los Angeles, recruiting not solely from different elements of the US, but additionally internationally.
Torstensson credit Body’s early success to his and Grede’s ever-so-slightly unorthodox strategy. In 2012, the duo — then finest often called the entrepreneurs behind the London-based inventive company The Saturday Group — selected to tackle a drained idea as a substitute of diving right into a sizzling class. Premium denim from the likes of JBrand and Diesel dominated vogue within the 2000s, however few of these labels—largely run by producers, not model builders—had managed to remain prime of thoughts with shoppers as they moved on to athleisure.
Torstensson and Grede led with model, introducing a typical skinny jean — the de-facto silhouette of the time — however positioning it as the selection of their supermodel mates. (A collaboration with Karlie Kloss on a pair of super-elongated flares in 2015 was an early win.)
A decade later, the denims are nonetheless promoting—making up half of the corporate’s general income—however Body has managed to do one thing out of the abnormal in your run-of-the-mill premium denims maker: get shoppers to purchase non-denim objects, too, like silk blouses and satin mini skirts.
“They’ve constructed a powerful model round timeless, elevated versatility,” says Pete Nordstrom, president and chief model officer of his household’s namesake division retailer chain, including that Body offers “items which are the middle” of the client’s wardrobe, and that the road “all the time feels related.”
A variety of that has to do with the early framework Torstensson and Grede established: Body was by no means a couple of sure type of jean, however as a substitute a method of life. Relaunching a males’s assortment after an preliminary misfire—the primary try was too centered on denim, Torstensson says—was a threat that has paid off. As a full-fledged, stand alone line, it nonetheless makes up a small portion of gross sales — Body declined to say how a lot — however is best positioned to develop.
For a lot of, the apparent subsequent step could be to promote the corporate as quickly because the market tilts extra favorably in direction of sellers — or instantly, if the suitable deal comes alongside. Grede and his spouse, Emma, now assist run the Kardashian empire by managing Skims and Good American, so he is much less concerned day-to-day. Dreyfus, who bought The Kooples to Lacoste-owner Maus Frères in 2019, is the sort of govt who may also help arrange Body for that kind of deal.
However Torstensson insists a sale is not the purpose. “We completely don’t wish to promote the enterprise,” he says. As an alternative, he is centered on constructing Body by persevering with to behave nothing like a denim model.