Carolee, the fashion jewelry company known for its pearls, has tapped a new creative director, Biagio Galotti, to build upon its legacy, elevate the product’s look and feel, and lead a full brand relaunch for fall 2018.
Founded in 1972 in Greenwich, Conn., Carolee was acquired by Brooks Brothers in 2001 and served as that company’s premium fashion jewelry subsidiary, which has since changed its name to Deconic. The Carolee label is now part of Deconic’s stable of high-performing private label and licensed jewelry brands, and Galotti has been tasked with refreshing its image and redefining its position in the marketplace.
Biagio Galotti will oversee all aspects of design and brand experience, including marketing, advertising, and sales strategies. His first full collection is set to debut in spring 2019.
“When I first landed at the jewelry house in May, I realized that Carolee was solely focusing on a specific woman who had a very specific lifestyle,” says Galotti. “I think the brand had lost its capability to connect with the new consumer. It’s very important to me that Carolee be a jewelry resource for all women out there regardless of their age, background, and lifestyle. My end goal is to keep our loyal fan base while also evolving with the [tastes of] millennial and Generation Z customers.”
Galotti comes to Carolee from Gucci, where he worked on everything from knitwear to eyewear and watches, and Swarovski, where he lead the design for an Atelier Swarovski eyewear capsule.
Below, more from our interview with Galotti, with shots from the campaign to help tell the story of what the “new” Carolee is all about.
JCK: What is your vision for the brand going forward?
Biagio Galotti: My vision for Carolee is for the brand to exude inclusivity, and I would like for anyone who identifies as a woman, or has an adoration for pearls and fashion jewelry, to see Carolee as a cool reference point where they can find unique and sophisticated wearable designs.
How does this translate to the current brand identity as far as logo, packaging, campaign imagery, and website design?
I started by playing with elements that could make the brand look fresh and contemporary. The logo and packaging were immediate changes that showed the first step we were taking in order to evolve. Our first campaign, which is a transitional season, mixes my vision with existing product and demonstrates we are doing our due diligence to impact social awareness.
Carolee’s fall 2018 ad campaign
What role will pearls play in the future collections?
When I think of Carolee, I think of pearls, and this will continue to be part of the brand’s DNA. I don’t plan to move away from this—it would be like taking away the essence of the brand. Pearls will always be included in every collection. I want to make sure that when it comes to Carolee, our customer will always [be able to] discover pearls under a different aesthetic or mixed or treated in a new way.
It was announced that elevated materials will be part of the revamp. Can you give some examples?
For our new Essentials collection, we will focus on utilizing freshwater pearls in all of the designs, as well as introducing sterling silver to the line for the first time. We are also moving a lot of our production to Italy, which I think our customer will appreciate because the collection will feel luxurious and elevated without compromising our attainable prices. This is still the very beginning of us building this new identity, and I would love to expand the product range as much I can. My fashion experiences are from the luxury world, and, to me, quality of the product is everything.
“The first campaign will focus on the topic of diversity,” says Galotti. “Looking ahead, I want to focus on other important social topics, which was once the core of our brand’s messaging.”
“I‘m overhearing people say that pearls are just for the grandmother, and I want to make sure our pearls are viewed as fun and young,” says Galotti. “It’s important to me that Carolee continues to have pearl pieces but with a spin to its aesthetic.”
You bring a strong European influence to the brand, especially having worked at Gucci and Swarovski. What does this mean for the new collections you’ll be overseeing?
Working for those big brands taught me the perception of what “global” means for a brand. No matter where the company is founded it, the goal is to be global, and that’s where I want to take Carolee.
Top: A still from the new Carolee campaign (all images courtesy of Carolee)
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