Finance

Yesterday Chanel (the Group, not the brand) announced it would acquire Barrie knitwear, a Scottish cashmere producer whose parent company, Dawson International, went into administration last August due to “a large hole in their pension fund”. This is turning into something of a strategic signature for Chanel. Though Barrie is not part of their “Metiers d’Art” group of nine specialist ateliers bought by their Paraffection affiliate, is it fully in line with what seems to be a Group policy regarding buying up and protecting heritage skills, be it glove-making, embroidery, or knitting.  Read more

Yesterday LNK Partners, a White Plains, NY-based P.E. firm, announced they had closed a second $400 million fund (oversubscribed, natch), specifically aimed at investing in “the consumer/retail sector.” Yes, yet more proof that all of us who thought when Permira sold Valentino to the Qatari royal family, it marked the end of PE’s brief flirtation with the unpredictable world of fashion were wrong. There’s life in that there investment relationship yet. Read more

There’s a piece in the paper today I did about Joseph and Karen Altuzarra, his mother and CEO, and their impressive working relationship and in the course of our conversation, something came up that didn’t make it into the story, but I thought was worth passing on: Mrs Altuzarra is convinced, as is her son, that the fact she didn’t know much about the fashion system when they launched really worked to their benefit, financially. Read more

Vionnet has gone gaga for Goga.

Today the classic French brand that was relaunched by Matteo Marzotto, the ex-president of Valentino, and Gianni Castiglione, CEO of Marni, three years ago, has just entered “Stage Two” thanks to a majority share purchase by Goga Ashkenazi, a London-based Kazakh businesswoman. Read more

Those international Vogues are fast becoming the action heroes of the fashion world.

Only last week they banded together to declare war on underage models, and now Vogue India has now announced it is following in the footsteps of American Vogue, British Vogue, and Italian Vogue and creating its own Fashion Fund initiative to promote the businesses of young Indian designers. Go team! Read more

As I was leaving Italy after Milan Fashion Week, I was chatting to Guglielmo Miani, the young-ish CEO of Larusmiani, a family-owned manufacturer of luxurious materials, when he let drop an interesting fact. Last week the Italian government quietly changed the law it passed in November that banned retail establishments from accepting more than €1,000 in cash. Surprise!

What changed?

Now, retail establishments have no limit on the cash they can accept from foreigners, as long as they take a photocopy of said foreigner’s passport. I’ll say that again: no limit. Italians are still restricted to €1,000. Read more

During fashion show season, which is any time between January’s men’s wear shows and this weekend, when their women’s wear collection is shown in Milan, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana don’t go out to lunch.

Maybe we should have expected this from someone who has built their business on cashmere and other super-soft, swaddling fabrics, but I was still somewhat taken aback when Brunello Cucinelli, the Italian luxury lifestyle entrepreneur who began his €250m business hand-dyeing sweaters, told me yesterday that he was excited about his planned IPO in May because he wanted “investors who would help take care of the company into the future.”

He had children, he continued as we were looking at his A/W collection, and he was in his late 50s, and soon they would need partners that would walk alongside them and help them nurture their brand.This is, in my experience, not the view most brand executives take on the benefits of going to market. They usually get excited about opening multiple stores in Asia or something. Read more

Yesterday, two days before his much-anticipated women’s wear show taking place this Saturday in Milan, it was announced that designer Raf Simons was leaving Jil Sander, the brand he joined five years ago and effectively resuscitated, for…parts unknown. And that he would be replaced by…creative director to come. This strike anyone else as weird?

 Read more

You know something is up when all the talk runway-side at a fashion show is about how a brand is NOT doing an IPO.

The Facebook listing has tech companies everywhere flirting with Wall Street (latest under discussion: etailer Gilt Group), but Michael Kors’ blockbuster public offering of last year, which saw his company attain a market capitalisation of $6.41bn, has not had the same effect on his fashion peers. Or so the folks at Tory Burch, whose a/w collection bowed this morning, might lead one to believe. Read more