Courrèges parts ways with creative directors

French fashion house Courrèges on Thursday stated it is parting ways with its design duo Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant.

Meyer and Vaillant were only in the role for four seasons, or two years, and left by mutual agreement.

“They have accomplished the goal to reinterpret the house codes and distinctive shapes that are synonym of the brand uniqueness and innovative spirit,” the house said in a statement. “The two designers will now focus on new creative projects.”

François Le Ménahèze, appointed president of Courrèges in April, will reveal the brand’s new creative leadership, the statement said.

In 2015 Artémis SA, French billionaire François Pinault’s family holding company, acquired a 30 percent stake in the company. At the time Courrèges staged its first catwalk show after a 13 year hiatus, marking the debut of Meyer and Vaillant as artistic directors of women’s wear.

Photo credit: Courreges AW17, source: www.courreges.fr

W Magazine have announced British stylist Katie Grand as its new contributing fashion editor. Grand takes over from Edward Enninful who begins as the new editor in chief of British Vogue next month.

Grand, who will maintain her role as editor in chief of biannual publication Love Magazine, a fashion bible she founded and is also published by Condé Nast, stated: " I've bought W since I first started buying magazines. It's a great American magazine with so much fantastic history."

Grand will style fashion stories and work alongside W's editor in chief Stefano Tonchi. Grand is thought to have been in the running to replace Shulman, but was pipped to the post by Enninful, a successful editor and stylist in his own right.

Tonchi told Business of Fashion: "A lot of people don't want to pinned down in a specific place," citing Grand's many projects across editorial (contributing to Vogue Paris and Italia) and advertising (for Louis Vuitton, Prada, Miu Miu, Loewe) and creative partnership with Marc Jacobs. "I started thinking about a structure that would let talent come in and give their best, and also to have a more kind of reliable core here at the magazine."

W magazine was first published in 1971 and was purchased by Condé Nast from Fairchild Publications in 1999. The magazine is an oversized format, larger than standard magazines and has a circulation of approximately 500,000.

Former Chanel chief executive Maureen Chiquet has been nominated to the Canada Goose board of directors as an independent director.

Outerwear specialist Canada Goose states that Chiquet will bring a “global vision, international leadership and deep luxury acumen” to the board, as the brand continues its global expansion that includes the opening of its first European flagship store in London this autumn.

“Maureen is a highly-regarded industry trailblazer and we are thrilled to welcome her to our team as we grow our Board with the right people and the right skills to help us leverage the opportunities that lie ahead,” said Dani Reiss, president and chief executive of Canada Goose. “Her deep expertise in growing businesses on an international scale, and extensive track record of sustaining brand excellence will be invaluable as we continue to expand our global footprint and build an enduring legacy.”

Chiquet, who was Chanel’s first global chief executive overseeing the business and brand’s world-wide expansion for nearly a decade, brings more than 30 years of retail industry experience to the Canada Goose board and is expected to provide strong product, marketing, and business operations expertise.

“I have long admired Canada Goose for its dedication to authenticity, quality and craftsmanship and I am honoured to be a part of such a highly coveted global brand as it embarks on its next chapter of growth. I look forward to joining this winning team and to supporting Canada Goose’s exciting future,” added Chiquet.

Chiquet will be nominated for election to the Board of Directors at Canada Goose’s Annual General Meeting, which is scheduled to take place on August 15 in Toronto.

Sports Direct appoints Jon Kempster as Chief Financial Officer

After reporting almost 59 percent fall in annual profit, Sports Direct announced appointment of Jon Kempster as Chief Financial Officer and executive director on the board on September 11, 2017.

"We look forward to welcoming Jon to Sports Direct. His breadth of experience and proven track record will be a significant asset to the company," said Dr Keith Hellawell, Chairman of Sports Direct, in a media release.

Jon Kempster is the new CFO of Sports Direct

From July 2010 to November 2012, Kempster was group finance director of UK logistics & distribution group Wincanton plc and was part of the executive team which, the company said, led the successful implementation of a new strategy which delivered a performance turnaround of the group.

"I am really excited to be joining Sports Direct, and I look forward to working with Mike and the team," added Kempster.

Prior to Wincanton plc, he was group finance director of industrial group Delta plc between November 2006 - July 2010 and part of the executive team which successfully restructured the group leading to improved performance and profitability and which resulted in the sale of the group in April 2010.

In addition to these roles, during his career Kempster has served as chief financial officer of industrial group Low & Bonar (Mar 2001 - Mar 2006), housebuilder Linden Homes plc (Sep 1999 - Dec 2000), international footwear manufacturer Fii Group PLC (Oct 1998 - Aug 1999) and JVM Group, a private company selling construction equipment (Dec 2012 to date), as FD before becoming a non-executive director.

He joined the board of Redcentric plc, an IT managed services group, as a non-executive director earlier this year to assist in the recovery phase of the group. Kempster was also a non-executive director of Utilitywise plc before stepping up to the CFO role there to aid management transition (Oct 2013 - Dec 2016).

Picture:Sports Direct website

Sir Philip Green has poached Paul Price, Chief Merchandising Officer at Burberry, to take over the helm of Arcadia Group's leading high street chain, Topshop.

Price is set to replace Mary Homer, who left her role as CEO in March to take up the reins at The White Company. In his new role as head of Topshop/Topman, which Price is set to begin on September 4, he will be in charge of boosting the retailer's sales, while driving it's overseas expansion. Philip Cooke, Topman's managing director, is set to remain in his role.

"I believe Paul will be a great catalyst in leading the next phase of Topshop/Topman's global expansion," said Green in a statement on the new appointment. Price brings with him years of experience working in the industry, after serving at Burberry for close to ten years. Prior to joining the team at Burberry, Price held a number of senior roles at Lucky Brand Jeans, Williams Sonoma and Banana Republic.

Baroness Karren Brady, Chairman of Arcadia Group’s parent company Taveta Investments, added: "I am delighted that Paul will be joining the team and I am very much looking forward to a new and exciting period for Topshop/Topman."

The new appointment follows on from Sir Philip Green's most recent hire. Earlier this week, Green appointed Karren Brady to chair his Taveta holding company.

Dieter Holzer replaces Alexander Gedat as Marc O’Polo Chief

Marc O’Polo’s current CEO Alexander Gedat has decided to quit as of August 31, 2017 after serving the company for over two decades with Werner Böck. The company also announced that Dieter Holzer, an experienced manager from the fashion industry will replace Gedat as the new Chief Executive as of September 1, 2017.

Holzer, the company said, has extensive expertise in the fashion industry, wholesale and retail and Marc O’Polo would continue to develop the brand under his leadership.

Marc O’Polo having Swedish roots, was founded in 1967. The company headquartered in south of Munich in Stephanskirchen, supplies to about 2,367 stores and retail partners internationally. The company currently operates 108 of its own stores, 203 franchise stores and 2,056 retail partners. The brand is also available in more than 30 countries worldwide, including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Norway, Ireland and France as well as China, Russia, Poland and various countries in Eastern Europe.

Marc O’Polo collections are also available in Marc O’Polo’s own e-shops in Germany, Austria, France, Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands as well as in Great Britain, Italy, Spain and 11 other countries via Marc-o-polo.com.

Martin Winkler appointed new CEO of the Falke Group

Falke has announced the appointment of Martin Winkler as the new CEO of the Falke Group. The company said, Winkler follows Uwe Bergheim, who has stepped down after his retirement.

“Winkler is a proven expert in marketing and sales. His special knowledge and experience as General Manager will be of tremendous importance for the strategic focus of the Falke Group and further internationalization of the brands Falke and Burlington,” said Franz-Peter and Paul Falke, in a media statement, adding, “we´d like to thank Mr. Bergheim for always trustworthy and good cooperation.”

The company said, 48-year-old executive comes from LG Electronics where he was chief operating officer being responsible for the consumer business in Germany.

Previously, the company added, he worked for ten years in various leading marketing and sales positions for the Sony Group. Most recently he was country head Germany for the consumer electronics & IT business.

"I am happy to be able to help shaping the future in such a renowned and successful company as Falke. I am looking forward to the cooperation and further development of the organization and the brands Falke and Burlington," added Winkler.

Picture courtesy: Falke

White Stuff CEO Jeremy Seigal steps down

After four and a half years as the company’s CEO, Jeremy Seigal has decided to retire from his position, said a statement from White Stuff. The company added that Seigal will continue to remain in the role till his replacement is found or December 31, 2017, whichever is sooner.

Commenting on Seigal's decision, Debbie Hewitt, the company's Chairman said in the statement: “Since joining us in 2013, Jeremy has further developed the growth of our online business, successfully driven the programme to grow the UK store portfolio and expanded our business internationally in Germany. We are appreciative of the commitment and loyalty he has shown throughout his time with us and he leaves with our very best wishes for the future as he embarks on the next chapter of his professional life.”

Established in 1985, White Stuff operates over 130 shops, 45 concessions in the UK and internationally apart from its online platform Whitestuff.com.

Picture:Facebook/White Stuff

Karren Brady to chair Arcadia’s parent company

Baroness Karren Brady, the boss of West Ham United and a judge on reality TV show The Apprentice, has been appointed as non-executive chairman of Taveta, the parent company of Sir Philip Green’s fashion retailer empire Arcadia.

Brady will replace Lord Grabiner as non-executive chairman immediately, as he has announced that he is stepping down from the board after 15 years. Grabiner was heavily criticised by a committee of MPs with regard to the collapse of BHS for his “weak corporate governance”.

In a statement Sir Philip Green said: “I am delighted to announce that Baroness Karren Brady will be appointed as non-executive Chairman. Baroness Brady joined the Taveta Board as a non-executive Director in September 2010 and will assume the role immediately.”

Taveta names Baroness Karren Brady as non-executive chairman

Taveta is the Green family firm, owned by the retail mogul and his wife Tina that controls Arcadia, the umbrella company that owns fashion chains Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Burton, Wallis, and Outfit. Arcadia has an annual turnover in excess of 2 billion pounds and employs more than 24,000 people globally.

Commenting on her appointment, Brady said: “It is a privilege to have been invited to chair the Board and I look forward to working with my colleagues as we concentrate on driving the Arcadia brands forward on their global expansion.”

Brady takes over as chair at a tricky time for the retail group as it recently reported lower sales and profits with falling sales and increased costs linked to the collapse of BHS. Taveta reported that pre-tax profits for the Arcadia group plummeted from 172 million pounds to 37 million pounds in the year ended August 27, 2016, with total turnover down 17 percent to 2.02 billion pounds.

Image: courtesy of Topshop

20 years after Gianni's murder, Versace has rediscovered its soul

Twenty years ago, stylist Gianni Versace was gunned down in Miami, plunging his fashion house into crisis. Two decades on, it is one of the world's top global luxury brands thanks to his little sister, Donatella.

He had gone out for the morning papers: as Versace returned to his Miami beach mansion on July 15, 1997, he was shot dead by Andrew Cunanan, a homosexual prostitute known for his obsession with all things luxury. The fashion world mourned deeply. The stylist to celebrities from Madonna to Elton John had been just 50 years old.

"He was a 360-degrees creator, a real artist, he had a pure creative vision on colours and materials," Stefania Saviolo, director of the luxury and fashion centre at Bocconi University, told AFP In Milan. The group he had created with his brother Santo in 1978 had been one of the hottest fashion brands in the world.

It fell to Versace's platinum blonde sister Donatella -- to whom Gianni had entrusted the casual line Versus -- to take over as artistic director. But the brand struggled to recover from Versace's murder. Donatella, who had worked for 14 years alongside Gianni, was severely affected by the loss of her brother and confessed to feeling "vulnerable".

Depression and cocaine

"You can't invent yourself as an artistic director overnight," says Saviolo, particularly as Donatella took over "at a time when fashion was changing a lot, with many collections and great pressure on artistic directors".

Donatella, instantly recognisable for her famous locks and perpetual tan, sank into a period of depression and cocaine use before detoxifying in 2005. The year before, the brand had acquired a new CEO in Giancarlo Di Risio. The former Fendi boss refocused the Medusa on the luxury market, streamlining licensing and franchising deals and developing the accessories range.

Amid rumours in the press of a fall-out between the family and Di Risio over planned cuts, he was replaced in 2009 by Gian Giacomo Ferraris, who moved over from the Jil Sander fashion house. Ferraris wasted no time in launching an extensive reorganisation plan to return Versace to profitability, cutting 25 percent of its workforce and closing some boutiques before opening new ones as the books improved.

His intervention "doubled the turnover, which rose from 268 million euros in 2009 to 645 million in 2015," according to David Pambianco, who heads up a consultancy company in his name. By 2011 the historic brand had returned to profit after a gruelling three years of losses.

'So much potential'

"The right balance was struck between Ferraris and Donatella, the dialogue between them was good and there was great respect for Donatella's creativity and vision," Saviolo said. The family, which had always refused to relinquish control to a luxury conglomerate like so many of its fellow Italian fashion houses, finally yielded a 20 percent stake in 2014 to the US private equity firm Blackstone.

The move, which Donatella said would allow Versace to "achieve its potential", resulted in a cash injection into the luxury designer and boosted its presence in emerging markets. The bet paid off: despite a difficult global context, sales increased by some 17 percent in 2014 and in 2015.

The house said it was time to "move onto the next phase" and Ferraris was replaced in May 2016 by Jonathan Akeroyd, former CEO of Alexander McQueen. Results last year were mixed, with sales up 3.7 percent to 668 million euros but the company admitting a loss of 7.4 million euros due in particular to funds sunk into its network of boutiques.

These results "have caused some uncertainty", but "the company is healthy, certainly more than 10 years ago," said Pambianco. "Versace remains one of the most beautiful brands in the world in the luxury sector" and has "still so much potential to express", he said, pointing out that luxury house Gucci for example "has a turnover that is seven times higher".

Saviolo agrees: "Versace has recovered its lost "red carpet DNA" and its style is currently "very daring, very strong." (AFP)

Photo: Versace AW17, Catwalkpictures