Well, you cannot say that he doesn't take full advantage of the element of surprise.
Riccardo Tisci, who exited his star-making creative role at Givenchy just over a year ago, will step into the Chief Creative Officer role at Burberry, ending speculation about what the next moves would be for both the designer and the brand. Burberry's much admired former creative leader Christopher Bailey presented his farewell collection just weeks ago, and it was expected that the next collection for the British heritage house would be created by an anonymous design team, but Tisci will be on the job fast enough to present his first collection in September, to great anticipation. The move re-unites Tisci with former Givenchy CEO Marco Gobbetti, who currently serves in the same role at Burberry.
The move raises a few questions about Burberry's future direction. Over the past few years, the brand has merged its luxury "Prorsum" runway collection with its more accessible Burberry London and Brit labels for a unified brand presentation that pulled the label out of the top tier luxury segment, a move that has had mixed results for several brands who have executed similar consolidations. Last year, Gobbetti promised to reposition Burberry at the top of luxury segment, which would fit with the strategy of bringing in an experienced couturier like Tisci as creative director. That could mean some changes in distribution strategies for the brand which might affect its retail partners. As for Tisci, he managed to transform Givenchy with a combination of opulent women's collections and increasingly sporty men's presentations with an aesthetic ranging from the most ornate, Goth inspired ballgowns and Oscar red-carpet fare to sweatshirts festooned with intriguing prints and patterns. The breadth of his design aesthetic should serve him well at Burberry which has offered a similar range of products alongside its core product line, the ultra-classic trench coat. Upon his surprise departure from Givenchy last year, where things seemed to be chugging along nicely for all parties, rumors were strong that he would be joining Versace as its design chief as soon as his non-compete requirement had expired, but that presumption seemed to falter in recent months as some suspected that Tisci might revive his own short-lived label fueled with the fame and design clout he had built up while at Givenchy. He had been designing a sneaker and sportswear collaboration under his own name with Nike that had been well received, but it is likely that that team-up is finished with Tisci's new position. "I have an enormous respect for Burberry's British heritage and global appeal and I am excited about the potential of this exceptional brand,” says the designer in a statement. “I am honoured and delighted to be joining Burberry and reuniting with Marco Gobbetti." Fashion fans will be waiting anxiously to see what the new collaboration has to offer as one more of the industry's "orphan" star designers finally finds a home.
Well, you cannot say that he doesn't take full advantage of the element of surprise.
There is always a highly anticipated reveal at every Fashion Week, which has only been accelerated by the revolving doors in front of so many major designer labels. Runway followers will anxious to see if the Monse designers can save Oscar de la Renta, as well as if Carolina Herrera can recover from her battle with them. The biggest news on New York, however, is the debut of Raf Simons as Calvin Klein's new creative director. While Simons' long running men's collection gave a much needed boost to New York Fashion Week Men's last week, His debut at Calvin Klein is the big news, and while the designer has kept his activity pretty quiet, he has started to hint at how he will remake the iconic American label, starting with a simple signal that he is reviewing every detail; a new logo.
Readers of early delivering March magazines like Vanity Fair may have noticed a pair of new ads for jeans and underwear that departed dramatically from the brand's signature sexy aesthetic. Rather than close shots of sexy models, tha ads show long shots taken of models from behind as they survey major artworks at the Rubell Family Collection museum in Miami. The most striking change, however is the logo in an all-caps sans serif font that subtly signals a major change (pictured on the bottom in the image above).
Calvin Klein's familiar logo has been remarkably consistent over the previous decades of the company's existence. Ralph Lauren, whose business began at relatively the same time, has cycled through several logo iterations for his various collections over the years, by comparison. Nearly 40 years old (pictured at the top in the above image), the crisp, modern font of the Calvin Klein mark has aged remarkably well, and has only been significantly altered once, in the early nineties (middle logo in image) with a subtle tweak of its proportions by the graphic maestro of that moment, Fabien Baron. The logo has remained otherwise untouched until this past Friday, when Simons' new version has made its debut not only in magazine pages, but on the top of the homepage at CalvinKlein.com and on the brand's Instagram and Twitter pages. Created in collaboration with noted graphic designer Peter Saville, it is officially meant to be "A return to the spirit of the original. An acknowledgement of the founder and foundations of the fashion house."
The last time such a well known logo was changed was when Hedi Slimane decided to rebrand the prêt-à-porter collections at Yves Saint Laurent as simply Saint Laurent, with a label based on the original Saint Laurent Rive Gauche logo that caused an ongoing uproar among fans of the brand. It's not likely that Simons redesign will cause as much drama, but it will serve the same purpose to delineate and officially identify the new designers' vision from that of his forerunners. It may not be the only labeling and repositioning move that Simons has in store. Just a couple of weeks ago, Simons made waves with the discovery of an otherwise unknown new division, Calvin Klein by Appointment, opening to the public the company's custom division which had previously only been available to actresses in need of red carpet attire. The division was announced on social media and with a special group of ads in the Sunday New York Times photographed by longtime Simons collaborator Willy Vanderperre. Those ads also carried a different font, one that reflected the original logo before the 90s era tweak. Part of Raf Simons' new responsibilities at Calvin Klein is to unify the company's disparate design directions under one strong aesthetic. The new men's and women' collection lines will finally be unveiled together next week, possibly with more information about how Simons will be revamping Calvin Klein's offerings.
In what is sure to be intriguing to fashion watchers and deeply annoying to luxury retailers, Givenchy's star designer Riccardo Tisci has chosen not to renew his contract with the storied Parisian label. While there have been rumors swirling as there often are when it comes to a major designer's contract renewal negotiations, it is unusual for a designer who had become so comfortably ensconced, as Tisci had been, to voluntarily moved on, but that is exactly what has reportedly happened. Givenchy parent LVMH was reportedly happy to have Tisci continue on, and there was apparently no major conflicts between the designer and his corporate overlords. In fact, Tisci had succeeded to do what the rather illustrious group of designers who succeeded house namesake Hubert de Givenchy failed to accomplish: create a new fashion image for the brand that had the global appeal to vault it into the top tier of international luxury brands.
With Tisci's departure confirmed, rumors of his future moves are amplified with the top option being a move to Versace. Tisci is known to be a fan of the late Gianni Versace, and is close enough with Donatella Versace to have her as a guest model in a recent Givenchy advertising campaign. With Versace on increasingly stronger financial footing a designer with a following like Tisci's could give it a further boost as it prepares for an eventual IPO which has been repeatedly postponed. What is unusual, however, is that when Versace has supported young designers like Christopher Kane and Anthony Vaccarello, it has been under more of a mentoring-type structure which generally turned over the "younger" label Versus to an emerging talent. Were Tisci to join Versace, it's hard to imagine him being tapped as anything less than the chief creative director, a role occupied for the past nearly 20 years by Donatella Versace who stepped in after the 1997 murder of her brother, founding designer Gianni Versace. Presumably, Tisci's arrival would mean that Donatella would be stepping down from her role at the company that bears her family's name. There hasn't been much indication that she is looking to retire, but that doesn't mean that she is not aware of the value of having Tisci take over.
Of course, Tisci is currently quite accomplished enough not to have to hunt for a new employer. His success at Givenchy has been such that he may be in a position to revive the short-lived eponymous label he had launched just before he was hired by the brand. He has had enough of his own name recognition to produce two seasons of a sneaker and apparel collaboration with Nike under his own name. Whatever his choice is, we probably won't know for sure for several months at least. As his contract ended on January 31, he is presumably still under a standard non-compete agreement for at least a year if not longer, which will allow plenty of time for new rumors to present themselves.
After a relatively brief period of intensive rumors, French fashion and beverage conglomerate LVMH has sold its Donna Karan International brand for$650 million to G-III Apparel Group, only marginally more than the $643 million it paid for the company in 2001.
The division had long been the subject of rumors, as the parent company had never been able to grow its two labels, the designer level Donna Karan New York and contemporary positioned DKNY, in any decisive way. Last year saw the departure of the company's namesake, designer Donna Karan, and the closure of the signature designer collection in favor of focusing on the more broadly distributed DKNY brand. The installation of acclaimed Public School designers Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chao to lead the label creatively was considered a bold move, but somewhat risky as the pair had made a splash in menswear but little relatively experience with women's apparel, especially in the highly commercial terrain that DKNY had always occupied. While LVMH has said it is happy with the results of the changes, others have reported a muted response to the new designs from customers. The two are still in the early stages of DKNY's revamp, having only shown two seasons for the label with the second, Fall 2016, just beginning to arrive in stores.
As for the buyer, G-III is one of America's most prominent apparel companies featuring a lengthy roster of owned, licensed and private label brands encompassing names ranging from Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Karl Lagerfeld to Jessica Simpson and Alyssa Milano. It often manufactures and distributes part of a brand's offerings, such as women’s sportswear, suits, dresses, performance wear, handbags, luggage and cold weather accessories for Calvin Klein under license, for example, while it owns outright brands like Vilebrequin and G.H.Bass and, now, Donna Karan and DKNY. It also operates retail stores for many of its labels, giving it a breadth of expertise that is well suited to the DKNY business as well as a market clout that could prove useful in growing the brand.
What plans are in store for Donna Karan's labels remain to be announced. It is expected that Osborne and Chao will remain at least through the closing of the sale sometime early next year. While the Donna Karan Collection remains suspended for now, it seems unlikely that G-III would be quick to revive it, as higher end designer apparel is somewhat outside the company's wheelhouse. In addition, LVMH leaders have long been rumored to be frustrated by designer Donna Karan's increasing attention to her personally owned lifestyle brand Urban Zen, which has already begun to appear in stores like Bergdorf Goodman as a replacement for the departed Donna Karan Collection. The Donna Karan Collection brand is not fully absent from the market with licensed home, hosiery, intimate apparel and fragrance collections ongoing, and items from the designer's final, Fall 2015 collection still available for purchase at DonnaKaran.com.
What is most unusual for LVMH is the selling of the division at all. The parent company is known for sticking by its owned designer brands until it finds the right creative approach to achieve commercial traction, often going through a succession of designers at brands like Céline, Loewe and even Givenchy over several years before hitting on a winning formula. This time, LVMH decided to walk away with little profit to show after 15 years, which may be either the exception that proves the rule or a signal of a new, less patient approach at one of the fashion industry's biggest players. At the very least, the sale now puts one of America's iconic fashion brands back in the hands of an American company, with a new, as yet unknown future ahead of it.
Enduring SoHo women's boutique Kirna Zabête has weathered all sorts of retail conditions the have felled lesser stores since it appeared in 1999, and is more than surviving —it's expanding. After buying out her business partner Sarah Easley's ownership stake earlier this year, now sole owner Beth Buccini is launching a temporary store for the next couple of months in East Hampton —not a terribly surprising development— and, more importantly a permanent satellite location not in the expected NYC area, but in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania on Philadelphia's main line.
While seasonal Hamptons stores are a time honored business opportunity for city retailers, opening in another city is a more daring move. Bringing her boutique to wealthy uptown shoppers who would be a safer strategy, but an expansion to another city gives Buccini the opportunity to bring Kirna Zabête's boundary pushing point of view to an affluent shopping area with less competition than one would have to fight in a designer-heavy market like New York. “I’ve been observing the fashion and I found women are hungry for new ideas and excited about fashion and they’re really underserved,” Buccini tells WWD. “I really went deep into the demographics in the area. There are so many universities and private schools all around, and really the only game in town is the mall.” Having moved her family to the area, the retailer is familiar with the market. The upcoming 32,000-square-foot store (pictured) will reflect the bold look of the SoHo mother ship and will open in a new shopping development aimed at affluent shoppers who can expect to see the store later this fall, opening with resort and holiday collections.
Bill Cunningham, the street style photographer for The New York Times, passed away today at 87. Cunningham had recently suffered a stroke.
Cunningham could often be found at his favorite haunts, most prominently the intersection of 57th Street and Fifth Avenue, intensely observing the crowd and picking out the most strikingly attired passersby to be featured in his long running collage of pictures in the Sunday Times Styles Section. Events like the Central Park Conservancy luncheon and the Gay Pride parade, which he just missed this year, were among his favorite events to revisit year after year. He was also known for an encyclopedic knowledge of fashion past and present, and often slyly pointed out when one designer's work mysteriously resembled that of another in the extensive seasonal runway round-ups he compiled for the pre-Condé Nast version of Details magazine during the 1980s. While he has inspired numerous blogs, Tumblrs and Instagram accounts, Cunningham has always been recognized as the originator, and few have come close to rivaling his sharp eyes for original style and spotting a trend. Then upcoming fashion weeks will be a bit less glamorous without him to pick out the most exciting dressers.
Scoop NYC, the fast growing retail chain that rode the contemporary designer explosion of the turn of the 21st Century to great success is facing some new challenges. WWD reports that the chain has closed its 10,000 square foot flagship in SoHo (pictured above) and is mulling the future of other branches —possibly that of the entire chain.
The retailer's ailment is not sales, apparently, but its rapid expansion during a time when prime locations have been scarce and renting only at top dollar rates. Margins at scoop are said to be in excess of 46% of sales and over $1,000 per square foot, enviable business levels by anyone's standards, but they are being eaten away by rents that are too high and stores that are too big, hence the closure of the chains largest and possibly most expensive one.
Started just 20 years ago by Stefanie Greenfield and Uzi Ben-Abraham, Scoop helped pioneer the upper contemporary/ designer boutique chain by mixing prestige designer labels like Missoni, Margiela and Derek Lam with resurgent premium denim brands and more casual contemporary fare, and presenting merchandise by lifestyle rather than by label. The billed the store as "The Ultimate Closet", and their concept won acclaim and lots of customers. Eventually, menswear was added in the same manner, and though the results in that category wound up looking fairly middle-of-the-road in terms of fashion, commercially it was a hit, offering side-by-side shopping for couples. Similarly merchandised chains like Intermix and Barneys Co-op also thrived alongside Scoop in its heyday, But Barneys has discontinued the Co-op division and converted its locations to more upscale, small Barneys boutiques, while the broader expansion of Intermix is now backed by Gap Inc. Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos. acquired Scoop in 2007, and is said to have ruled out a bankruptcy filing, though liquidation may not be off the table. The chain still has 15 stores left, mostly in New York City and Long Island, but also in key cities including Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, Chicago, Las Vegas and Atlanta but only with single units. Its most recently opened store is in Brookfield Place in the financial district. It sounds like we should expect to see a few more Scoop store closures in the coming months, but hopefully, the chain isn't ready to give up the ghost just yet.
Or maybe it is.
Over the weekend, Scoop stores started running 10% Off storewide store closing sales in all remaining 15 locations with merchandise expected to hold out for 8 to 12 weeks. The aforementioned overhead costs have reportedly clobbered the chain out of viability, with with unrealistic double digit comp numbers required to ensure profitability against high rents on oversized stores. In other words, there is no feasible path forward for the chain. In New York City, the remaining Scoop locations are on Third Avenue between 73rd and 74th Streets, Brookfield Place, and separate men's and women's stores on Washington Street between 13th and 14th Streets in the Meatpacking District as well as East Hampton and Wheatley Plaza stores on Long Island.
NEW YORK DESIGNER SHAKE-UP:
Francisco Costa & Italo Zucchelli Out At Calvin Klein As Raf Simons Rumors Swirl
Perhaps his own women's line is not what Raf Simons has in the works after all. Maybe he's heading Stateside.
The revolving door of Europe's biggest designer brands has opened in New York today as the exits of both Francisco Costa and Italo Zucchelli (pictured left and right above), creative directors at Calvin Klein Collection for women and men respectively, have been announced. The company has indicated that all Calvin Klein products will be unified under a single creative director yet to be disclosed, while fashion insiders filled in the blank with Raf Simons' name, a rumor that has apparently been percolating recently. The new creative head will be announced "in due course” according to the company, which is in keeping with the belief that a non-compete clause in Raf Simons' former contract with Dior is delaying the completion of any transition until this summer.
While both Costa and Zucchelli have been credited with maintaining the fashion authority of the Calvin Klein brand after its purchase by PVH and the retirement of it's namesake, commercially, the Calvin Klein Collection business plummeted after Klein's retirement as the company turned its attention toward the newly introduced Calvin Klein White Label moderate line for profits and growth. The Collection lines remained beloved by the press, and Costa was a recipient of the CFDA award. The runway collections gained some traction in recent seasons as the parent company increased support for the neglected lines. Zucchelli's menswear has been embraced by avant-garde retailers like Opening Ceremony and Dover Street Market, and Costa's womenswear has found its way back into Bergdorf Goodman, but not all the way back to the prized, spacious in-store shop overlooking the Plaza it commanded in its heyday through the 1990s. While Costa has had great success with red carpet dressing, he often dressed his stars in simpler gowns that recalled classic Calvin Klein styles like the sleek red tank gown Jennifer Lawrence wore at her first Oscar ceremony rather than his own more complex runway designs, causing a stylistic disconnect for the collection.
As for Simons, his success at the modernistic Jil Sander as well as his own influential men's label and balancing of ornate and minimalist looks at Dior make him a perfect choice to lead Calvin Klein —if it's true.
We will all have to wait a few months to find out for sure, but the prospect of a Simons led Calvin Klein is a promising idea for one of New York's greatest designer brands.
Raf Simons' surprise exit from Christian Dior last year seemed to spark an unprecedented upheaval of Europe's luxury brands with designers leaving or being forced out of what seemed to be secure creative director positions. For Simons part, he was said to be leaving because he wanted to spend more time at home in Belgium and also wanted to focus on his own signature label, the one that brought him his initial fame and had continued uninterrupted even as the designer took on more high profile creative responsibilities first at Jil Sander and then Dior. What is curious about Simons' trajectory is that even as he established his bona fides as a premier women's designer at Sander and Dior, his own label has always been restricted to menswear —until now?
Pitti Uomo, the prestigious mens' trade show that begins its Spring 2017 edition in a couple of months in Florence, has announced that Simons will be given the coveted spotlight this season to present his Spring-Summer 2017 collection and well as a "Special Project". Though this is a men's show, its spotlight is often used as an opportunity to launch new projects including women's or other additional collections. Could that special project be the first official Raf Simons women's collection? It would seem to be the obvious next move for the designer. One of the rumored reasons for his departure from Dior —from a position that fashion watchers are still waiting to be filled— was a lack of autonomy over the highly compartmentalized brand. Though he was responsible for the marquee Haute Couture and Women's ready-to-wear and accessory collections, he had little to no authority over other aspects of the brand such as store design, cosmetics and the choice of celebrity spokesmodels. Most surprising was that instead of turning over Dior Homme to innovative men's designer Simons to create a more unified brand image, Dior decided instead to renew Dior Homme creative director Kris van Assche's contract. It's not that van Assche was failing, but it seemed curious to have one of menswear's most highly regarded designers under the Dior roof but to keep him restricted to women's collections.
Now that Simons has streamlined his professional life, it seems like the perfect time to fortify his own label's profile by finally entering the much larger and potentially more lucrative women's market under his own name with an eye on the female customers he has cultivated over the years at Sander and Dior. Is this the special project set for Pitti? So far no details have been released, and this is pure speculation on our part, but we can't be the only ones who are taking bets on when Raf Simons for women will inevitably be launched. The proverbial iron is still hot, so now would logically be the time to strike before it cools.
As has been widely rumored, Paris based designer Bouchra Jarrar (pictured at right) has been named artistic director of women’s collections at Lanvin starting this Monday. Jarrar replaces Alber Elbaz whose departure last year stunned fans and customers and left his design staff not only heartbroken, but litigious, taking the storied house and its owner to court to protest the designers ouster. The first collection without Elbaz, shown last week, elicited scathing reviews, indicating that leaving the design direction to Elbaz's remaining staff was not a viable 'place holder' option for even one more season as has been done at houses like Dior which is currently between creative directors. For her part, Jarrar is a well-liked choice who seems qualified to help push Lanvin beyond the controversy of Elbaz's departure and reassure nervous retailers who have invested in the label and built loyal customer followings. After stints at Jean-Paul Gaultier, Balenciaga under both Josephus Thimister and Nicolas Ghesquiere, Jean-Louis Scherrer and Christian Lacroix, Jarrar started her own house in 2010 and has shown both ready-to-wear and haute couture collections as an official member of the Chamber Syndicale de la Haute Couture. It has not been confirmed that she will continue on with her own label as she concurrently designs for Lanvin, however she is reported to have taken on minority investment for it as recently as last year. Her own company is relatively small compared to Lanvin, however, and she will presumably have to contend with the same challenges that faced Elbaz and led to the conflict that ended in his dismissal, namely the lack of company owned stores to even out the brand's balance between wholesale and retail as well as the widely reported lack of funding that has hindered Lanvin's ability to compete with bigger labels in the most profitable handbag and accessory categories. She will, however, be able to restore some good will for the brand and confidence that it will not fall back into the obscurity from whence it emerged when Elbaz became its creative director. “Joining Lanvin satisfies my desire to create and express myself in a space of larger expression,” she says as part of today's announcement, and all eyes will be on her when she shows her first collection this fall for Spring 2017.