Andrew Rosen

It’s interesting, in all the breathless reports about Fast Retailing’s maybe-possibly-hope-so acquisition of J Crew, Andrew Rosen has not really figured. It’s all about Fast’s chairman, Tadashi Yanai, and his desire to acquire, along with the accessible luxury brand, its CEO, Millard “Mickey” Drexler (though presumably creative director Jenna Lyons is also a plus). Yet Mr Rosen, who is a group senior vice-president of Fast Retailing, and instrumental in their US operation, being the CEO of Theory and Helmut Lang (which Fast bought fully in 2009), happens to be very, VERY (I could say that again, but won’t, because I think you get the point) good friends with Mr Drexler. See where I’m going with this? Read more

Much joy and rapture and relief greeted new Mayor Bill de Blasio’s statement to the fashion world at the end of last week that “The fashion industry…is part of how we will build a more unified city and a city where everyone has opportunities,” and the statement by an aide that de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray would “definitely be out and about” at New York Fashion Week. He got it! He knew how important fashion was, as an industry, to the health of the city! He was sending his wife to shows! Except, as far as I can tell, she never – well, showed. Read more

Despite all the lip service paid to potential of the contemporary market – despite J Crew’s expansion into Europe and Asia, and Tory Burch’s $2bn valuation; despite all the private equity interest in the sector, which has seen KKR buy Sandro and Maje, and General Atlantic put its money in Burch as well as TPG and LGP lead the charge by taking J Crew private – I find it striking that no one has yet attempted to put a bunch of these together and create a group, as are so ubiquitous in luxury, to leverage synergies and create a power structure.

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Allow me to toot our own horn here for a moment, and note there’s a very interesting piece today in the FT by my colleague Stephanie Kirchgaessner on various industries and the presidential candidate they support. Romney seems to have come out on top in a bunch of them, at least as far as donations go but at least one other industry that wasn’t on the list skews very heavily BO (unfortunate initials, I know): fashion.
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September is both Back to School! and Back to Fashion Week!, and sic discussion with my children about what they are looking forward to, I’ve been mulling over what Iam looking forward this fashion season, which begins in NY on Thursday. For what it’s worth, here’s what I expect to be the best topics of discussion over dinner or cocktails:
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Is there a difference between European and American luxury? And if so, does it have to do with aesthetics, or markets? I’ve been pondering this ever since the news broke that, after a year of rumours, Andrew Rosen, the great NY garmento who founded Theory and re-invented Helmut Lang, and John Howard of Irving Place Capitol (a fashion-focused private equity fund) finally bought Permira’s stake in US brand Proenza Schouler.
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Today I had a very nice conference call with Andrew Rosen, President of Link Theory Holding, the New York-based Group that is quietly positioning itself at the contemporary market’s answer to LVMH, and Olivier Theyskens, erstwhile long-haired high-fashion darling, because the duo was announcing a new partnership. Mr Theyskens is going to become Artistic Director of the brand Theory. This is a foray into unknown territory for both, as Theory has never had a “face” or presiding designer before, and Theyskens – well, let’s just say in the past he has occupied a very luxurious niche.

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