Alain Manoukian might have spent his career at his family"s shoe manufacturing company in Romans, in France"s Rhone Alpes region if it had not been for the design talents of his wife, Danielle. While Alain Manoukian worked at the modest shoe company, Danielle Manoukian opened a clothing shop at the beginning of the 1960s. Danielle Manoukian had come from a textile family, which made sweaters in Belgium. Manoukian began designing her own sweaters, selling them in her shop.
The Manoukians soon realized that Danielle Manoukian"s designs had begun to outsell the other sweaters sold at the shop. Encouraged by the success of Manoukian"s sweaters, Alain Manoukian decided to leave the family shoe business and set up his own company based on his wife"s sweater designs. With financial backing from his parents, Manoukian opened the first Alain Manoukian store in November 1972 in the town of Colmar.
The Manoukians met with quick success through the 1970s as the company developed a full line of women"s fashions, targeting the 30 to 40 year old, mid priced segment. While knitwear represented the company"s largest sales segment, reaching more than 75 percent of its sales, Manoukian also developed a strong line of coordinated separates to accompany its knitwear designs.
1972: Alain Manoukian opens the first store based on Danielle Manoukian"s sweater designs.
1979: Manoukian launches a franchise network.
1984: Manoukian begins international expansion, establishing company owned and franchised stores.
1985: The company goes public with a listing on the Lyons Stock Exchange"s Secondary Market, leading Manoukian to add children"s and men"s wear lines and to enter manufacturing for the first time.
1992: Losses force the company to restructure and refocus on core distribution operations.
1996: The company debuts the mixed clothing store concept, featuring women"s and men"s fashions in the same stores, with separate entrances for each department.
2001: The company launches e commerce and business to business web sites.
2002: The company launches two new clothing lines, the high end Manoukian Collection and the youth market Seda Manoukian.
For Fall 2012 designers are inspired by a wide range of influences, from the elaborate details of brocade and metallic gold embellishments to the dynamic mix of military chic and power pantsuits. Colo