Q&A with Janine Fichna, Founder and CEO of Antoinette

‘Antoinette,’ a new luxury women’s wear outerwear is poised to turn heads
with the first presentation of its debut collection during the upcoming
trade fair ‘Pure London’ at Olympia. Founded by Janina Fichna, Robert
Hubner and Franz Haushofer, the brand builds on from the former legacy
created by the Haushofer family with ‘Miss Antonette.’ The new label draws
inspiration from its roots and translates it into contemporary women’s
wear, made from cashmere, wool and silk. “With Antoinette, we have created
a timeless, classic collection comprising garments which are elegant,
modern and flattering all at once,” commented Franz Haushofer.
FashionUnited took a minute to speak to Fichna to learn more about this new
label and its heritage, ahead of its exhibition at Pure London.

What can you tell us about ‘Miss Antonette’ history?

“The brand was founded by Franz Haushofer Senior, who started to work as a
tailor in 1955. Back in the day he worked for big German brands, producing
samples and small collections based on their designs. Then in 1975 he
founded his own brand, naming it ‘Miss Antonette’ after his beloved
grandmother, who was named ‘Antonia.’ The brand was designed to be a
luxurious label for women and all garments were produced in Germany, made
from high quality German and Italian fabrics. Franz owned two own plants in
Munich and Rosenheim at the time, where all Miss Antonette garments were
designed and produced.”

“‘Miss Antonette’ soon became more and more famous and Haushofer Senior
began to sell his collections all over Europe and in Asia. The brand’s peak
time was in the 1980s and 1990s, when Haushofer’s children joined the label
and began working together with their father. Franz Junior was responsible
for the sales, Maria for the label’s design and Albert for the production

“The brand was sold via sales agents throughout the UK and was very
successful, especially during the 1980s. At the time, ‘Miss Antonette’ had
a huge shop-in-shop at Harrods and Selfridges. The late Lady Diana was also
a big fan of the brand and purchased a lot of her clothing from the label
at Harrods. However, in early 2000s the brand began to go downhill and
Haushofer Senior decided to shut down the entire label in 2007, retiring
from the fashion business. Haushofer Junior did try to revamp the brand at
the time, but failed due to financial difficulties at the time.”

How did you come up with the idea to start ‘Antoinette?’

“I met Haushofer Junior through a mutual friend a little over two years
ago. Before that I had worked with designer Philipp Plein, when he was just
starting to try his hand at fashion. While talking and discussing fashion
and sharing our experiences and contacts, Haushofer Junior and I began to
build up this a idea of a new brand, using his and mine existing contacts.
Our idea was to create a brand using again high quality fabrics with
elegant designs which are classic, but with an extravagant touch. We both
felt that in a time when value fashion chains and fast-fashion retailers
such as H&M, Primark and Zara where growing more and more, there was a lack
of traditionally made, high quality fashion in the market. Fashion with
love in every detail. So that was our idea for ‘Antoinette,’ to create a
new luxury label.”

When did you first launch ‘Antoinette?’

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“We founded the brand early last year together with an investor. Initially
we wanted to use a new name for the brand, but we like the idea that people
may be confused by the name and may assume that there is a connection to
‘Miss Antonette.’ In fact, this link to the old label helped us a lot when
we visited high quality fabric suppliers and manufactures in Italy and
numerous production factories in Europe, as they remembered the brand. I
hired Christine Lebsack as the head of design last September, who has over
ten years of design experience with different brands. We already introduced
the label to the German market earlier this year, attending trade fairs
Panorama in Berlin and Supreme in Munich, as well as Dusseldorf, and this
month we will be presenting the label to the UK market at Pure London.”

Why did you choose to exhibit at Pure London?

“Well, firstly we are very keen to introduce the brand to the UK again, as
it is the first and best market after Germany for us to be present in.
Following the former popularity and following that ‘Miss Antonette’ had, we
hope that ‘Antoinette’ will do just as well, if not better with British
consumers who are looking for high quality fashion. Also we were extremely
pleased with the wonderful service provided by the sales team at Pure
London. They were able to give us a premium spot due to a cancellation and
have been very helpful. Also, after previously attending Pure London with
Philipp Plein, I truly believe that Pure London is one of the best and most
beautiful trade fairs I have ever attended! This coming Sunday we will show
our first ‘Antoinette’ Autumn/Winter collection, which we hope British
buyers will like, and after that we will exhibit at the Coterie in New

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