Richemont

Nolan Gerard Funk Discusses Neckwear at Delvaux Party

Nolan Gerard Funk Discusses Neckwear at Delvaux Party

TIE SCORE: Nolan Gerard Funk dons some expensive designer suits — Dior, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana — for his role in the upcoming Netflix series “Partner Track,” about the interpersonal dynamics at a New York law firm. Neckties galore, too.
“It was funny because we were shooting in an actual office building, at a real law firm, on the 49th and 51st floors…and there would be people going back to work in the elevator. And they would always look at us and be like, ‘You’re in the show because we don’t wear ties anymore,’” the Canadian actor related with a chuckle.
Funk, who recently appeared in “Flight Attendant,” was among VIPs mingling in Palais-Royal, where Delvaux had set up an idyllic garden party outside its original Paris boutique. Fans were handed out, but a breeze kept revelers cool as they sipped martinis and rosé wine mixed with strawberry puree.

Dressed in a white linen jacket, Delvaux chief executive officer Jean-Marc Loubier greeted the likes of deejay Laura de Greef, creative director Fredrik Robertsson and French actress Gaïa Weiss, who recently appeared in a Delvaux campaign spotlighting its summery Canvas Story bags and totes.
Belgian musician Sylvie Kreusch capped off the evening with a performance.

Montblanc Built a Temple to Handwriting in Hamburg

Montblanc Built a Temple to Handwriting in Hamburg

HAMBURG, Germany — “Dear Miss Roose, Thank you for your invitation.”So begins a longwinded negative RSVP handwritten on flowery paper by the late Karl Lagerfeld, displayed at the new Montblanc Haus, which blends elements of a museum, art gallery, hall of fame and school — adding up to a unique destination.
Maggie Gyllenhaal, Óscar Isaac and Dree Hemingway were among VIPs who descended on Hamburg Tuesday to christen the new building, which resembles a giant artist’s charcoal stick etched with a mountain scape and stamped with the German brand’s famous snowcap emblem. (The building’s design is actually an homage to historic pen packaging.)
Located next to Montblanc’s headquarters, and production facilities for its precious resin writing instruments and hand-ground gold nibs, the three-story structure also boasts a café, exhibition spaces, writing ateliers, an archive and academy.

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It’s the latest “immersive brand experience” served up by Europe’s big luxury brands, which are adding cultural and hospitality elements to their flagship projects — though Montblanc acknowledges that its new “house” on the fringes of Hamburg is more of a museum and gallery than a store, and will initially be open on weekdays only.

A pen with a dragon motif on display at Montblanc Haus in Hamburg.
DANIEL SCHAEFER

So far, only groups of students have visited the permanent exhibitions, trying their hand at calligraphy and watching short films about the value of writing.
On Tuesday evening, editors, influencers and local dignitaries streamed through the sleek, 39,000-square-foot facility, gawking at diamond-studded “High Artistry” pens, Art Deco-style advertising posters, and examples of client penmanship from around the world.
“It’s about celebrating writing,” Montblanc chief executive officer Nicolas Baretzki said in an interview, describing the monumental mobile made of paper hanging near the entrance, and the squishy, ink-like lettering on walls that underscore the theme. “We want people to understand why handwriting is important; what are all the philosophical and cultural ideas behind writing?
“If people leave with some excitement and inspiration, I believe we have done the right job,” he added.
Montblanc Haus arrives at a time when the Richemont-owned luxury brand is navigating a spike in demand for its pricy pens, with its Limited Edition range currently out of stock, and a recent tie-up with Ferrari selling out “in a few days,” Baretzki said.
While he declined to give precise figures, he said, “we are definitely over pre-COVID-19 figures and the big challenge these days is producing enough to meet demand.”
The executive said Montblanc Haus was plunked deliberately in front of three buildings housing about 1,000 artisans who craft the brand’s pens, some nibs requiring 35 hand-hewn steps. Tours of the facilities, until now upon demand, will now be offered more widely as Montblanc seeks to fan interest in its most emblematic product, and using it to “leave a mark” on the world.
“I see it as a means to maximize our handprint,” the CEO said with a grin, deliberately sidestepping the word footprint to exalt the flourish of a penned word.

Varieties of handwriting and some sketches adorn the walls of Montblanc Haus.
DANIEL SCHAEFER

About 400 exceptional writing instruments are on display in the new facility, representing about a tenth of Montblanc’s stash, along with the multiple component parts.

Baretzki noted that historic writing instruments have been a formidable font of inspiration for Montblanc’s artistic director, Marco Tomasetta, who arrived last year. Among Tomasetta’s new leather goods designs is a weekend bag in a shiny leather reminiscent of its iconic Meisterstück fountain pen, with zipper pulls and handle tabs shaped like nibs.
“More and more, we try to talk about Montblanc and not just isolated categories,” he said. “It’s a lot about brand themes about brand expression.”
Next up for Montblanc is an event in Paris on June 22 during Men’s Fashion Week to unveil a new theme and a new collection by Tomasetta.
In a separate interview, Vincent Montalescot, executive vice president of marketing, said the new facility was five years in the making, with teams “digging deeply in the archives.”
He noted that brand discovery emporiums are more common in consumer products industries, mentioning the likes of Lindt’s Home of Chocolate in Kilchberg, Switzerland or the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam. Sites that offered the Montblanc teams some luxury inspiration included the Louvre in Abu Dhabi and the L’École, School of Jewelry Arts supported by Van Cleef & Arpels, which, like Montblanc, is controlled by Compagnie Financière Richemont. But the archives informed everything from the architecture to the sleek and glossy furnishings in black and white.
While Montblanc Haus charts the company’s 116 years of history and exalts its savoir-faire, it has a broader goal of inspiring writing, and harnessing the creativity sparked when pen hits paper, Montalescot explained.
Displays and experiences are also meant to engage a wide range of audiences, from children to serious pen geeks.

An immersive digital installation at Montblanc Haus in Hamburg.
DANIEL SCHAEFER

“A collector, someone really passionate about writing and Montblanc, will find amazing pieces and a kid will be inspired by the different opportunities to touch, to feel and to discover an environment and the power of writing,” Montalescot said.
Visitors can write postcards with Montblanc pens, sign up for creative writing classes and read handwritten notes from famous figures. Montalescot said the facility is meant to inspire visitors, and also invite them to “pause and reflect.”

Exhibitions blend high-tech and old-school elements. Visitors can step into a round room resembling a slice of a Montblanc pen and be surrounded by dazzling digital projections, while VIPs and VICs will be ferried into a “secret room” where they don white gloves and can inspect rare writing instruments.
“They both bring unique emotions,” he noted with a smile.
Montalescot said the archives shelter not only treasures from the past, but also possible roadmaps for the future. To wit: Having discovered autographs by writers such as Voltaire, Agatha Christie, Thomas Mann and Ernest Hemingway in storage, Montblanc decided to shift investments from contemporary art into rare signatures by the likes of Albert Einstein, Frida Kahlo, Reinhold Messner and Spike Lee, who appeared in a global Montblanc campaign in 2020.

Autographs by The Beatles are on display at Montblanc Haus in Hamburg.
DANIEL SCHAEFER

Asked how many visitors Montblanc Haus might welcome in its first year, Montelescot shrugged, describing the business model as a “work in progress” and efforts to publicize the facility in its early stages, with Tuesday’s inauguration event the big kickoff.
However, the brand is mulling plans to “digitize the experience” and export elements to other Montblanc stores and perhaps pop-up installations. In 2024, the company will mark the centenary for the Meisterstück, its most iconic pen.
Alexa Schilz, director of brand heritage and sustainability at Montblanc, said she engaged two museologists to help contextualize and curate the archives, which include a treasure trove of advertising campaigns from 1922 through to the 1970s. These images document how fountain pens facilitated business travel — no ink well to balance on a bumpy train — and how Montblanc used the language and methods of fashion early, creating a collection of pens around 1907 that were given a fancy French name, “Rouge et Noir.”
“They saw the value in bringing something chic to the market,” Schilz said.
Writing samples on display in the exhibition areas include a small leather book containing the autographs of all members of The Beatles, and more prosaic exchanges, including notes from Italian architect and furniture designer Gio Ponti and his carpenters.
The boutique at Montblanc Haus mainly showcases writing instruments, some leather goods, a tiny selection of watches and personalized stationery, Schilz noted.

SEE ALSO:
Montblanc Reveals First Leather Goods Collection Under New Artistic Director
Montblanc Teams Up With Maison Kitsuné for Leather Goods
Richemont’s Q3 Revenue Soars Due to an Engaged Local Clientele

Investors Are Cautious About Luxury Sector, Barclays Finds

Investors Are Cautious About Luxury Sector, Barclays Finds

Luxury’s biggest players start reporting third-quarter results this week, and Barclays doesn’t expect them “to be a key catalyst for the space.”After speaking with more than 50 investors across Europe, Asia, the U.S. and the Middle East, the British bank found “a cautious view on the sector, mainly because of the lack of visibility around China and concerns around growth normalization after a strong COVID-19 recovery period.”
“We think investors will need reassurance on the ability of the sector to continue delivering solid top-line growth and to maintain resilient margins,” Barclays said in a report released Monday.
It expects investors to be hungry for indications on current trading in China and the U.S., and the outlook for those linchpin markets.

“The third quarter has been disrupted by the comments made by the Chinese government around common prosperity and curbing excessively high income, and by concerns around a potential slowdown in the U.S. market,” Barclays said.

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In China, there are concerns about the potential for further regulations around the entertainment industry and social media platforms that could impact how brands communicate with consumers, and about a climate in which “flaunting one’s wealth” could be frowned upon.
For the U.S., investors expect a more cautious outlook as the impact of stimulus checks fades and outsize demand normalizes.
Investors seem divided on prospects for Swatch and Kering, whereas they largely accepted Barclay’s “overweight” ratings on Compagnie Financière Richemont and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
LVMH is to report its third-quarter results after the French stock market closes on Tuesday and Barclays expects “solid trends” and organic growth of 22 percent for the group and its fashion and leather goods business segment.
“Trends at Kering, however, should be less impressive, as the company indicated that the third quarter should remain a transition quarter for Gucci. We forecast organic growth of 9 percent for Gucci and 11 percent for Kering,” the report said.
The pressure seems to be ratcheting up on Kering to make an acquisition that might reduce its overexposure to Gucci.
Investors pushed back on Barclays’ overweight rating for Swatch “as the market remains skeptical about management’s ability to deliver on guidance. The group is also seen as exposed to a structurally challenging industry.”
Barclays forecasts organic growth of 25 percent in the third quarter for Hermès International and first-half organic growth of 58 percent for Richemont.
SEE ALSO:
LVMH Sees No Shift Away From Luxury Goods as Markets Reopen
Can U.S. Consumers Keep Delivering Growth for Luxury Brands?
Richemont Grows Leather Goods With Delvaux Purchase

Johann Rupert Touts Richemont’s Green Ambitions at AGM

Johann Rupert Touts Richemont’s Green Ambitions at AGM

LONDON — Richemont is going greener, with a new commitment to eliminate PVC from all products and packaging by the end of 2022, and a fresh stamp of approval from the Science Based Targets initiative for a series of climate change goals.“If we do not want our generation to leave a dirty and hot planet to our grandchildren, we have to change our habits and show a far bigger appreciation for the ecology and for the planet — not only for human beings but for all of life on the planet, the fauna and the flora,” said Richemont’s founder and chairman Johann Rupert during the company’s annual general meeting on Wednesday.
The meeting was held in Geneva behind closed doors for the second consecutive year, in line with COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Rupert’s brief, but wide-ranging, speech to shareholders focused on Richemont’s environmental moves, noting that the company, parent of brands including Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Dunhill and Yoox Net-a-porter Group, has a “long-standing commitment to doing business responsibly” and last year made “significant progress” in alignment with the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals.

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During the AGM, Rupert revealed that the Science Based Targets initiative, an organization that works with private sector companies on setting emissions reduction goals, has endorsed Richemont’s plans to reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 46 percent by 2030, and to source 100 percent of renewable electricity by 2025.
The organization has also given Richemont the go-ahead to reduce Scope 3 GHG emissions from purchased goods, services and business travel by 55 percent by 2030 and to ensure that 20 percent of its key suppliers have science-based targets by 2025.
Richemont is also phasing out polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, which Rupert said is “very hard to recycle, with some countries already banning it from their landfills.” Richemont will eliminate the material by December 2022.
Rupert said all of Richemont’s businesses are working to replace PVC with alternative materials and/or other solutions. “We will continue to work collaboratively with industry organizations and our business partners to promote best practices across the full supply chain,” he added.
As reported, Richemont has also named Jasmine Whitbread and Patrick Thomas to the board of directors as non-executive directors. Rupert said Whitbread’s “deep understanding of ESG issues,” and Thomas’ “unrivaled industry expertise” will further reinforce the breadth and depth the board’s skillset.
In July, Richemont issued its latest ESG report, which touts the company’s plans to pursue a “green growth” agenda that will see it increase profitability while shrinking its carbon footprint, and work toward circularity in sourcing and sales.
Called “Movement for Better Luxury,” it’s a window on the grueling mechanics, costs and time it takes for a company of Richemont’s size and scale to go green.
During the AGM, Rupert also addressed the company’s new warrants, whose current value “has more than compensated for the cut” in the group’s dividend last year; the company beefed-up investment in online retail channels during the pandemic, and the acquisition earlier this year of the luxury leather goods company Delvaux.

Rupert also paid tribute to Alber Elbaz, who died from COVID-19-related complications earlier this year. He described him as a “dear friend and colleague,” and referred to the late designer’s “inclusive dream of ‘smart fashion that cares.’”
Richemont shares closed down 0.7 percent at 104.80 Swiss francs at the close of trading on Wednesday.

EXCLUSIVE: Maison Alaïa Adds ‘Relax’ Line of Knit Bodywear

EXCLUSIVE: Maison Alaïa Adds ‘Relax’ Line of Knit Bodywear

Anointed the “king of cling” in the 1980s for his curve-hugging fashions, Azzedine Alaïa was never really associated with athleisure, activewear or bodywear, more recent industry monikers for leggings, bodysuits, cropped tops and the like.
Yet in 1992, for his spring collection, the Paris-based designer introduced knitwear using an innovative fabric from Florentine spinner Lineapiù vaunted as the “yarn of serenity” for its stretch features and purported calming effect.
Now, more than three years after the death of its founder, the Maison Alaïa is again working with Lineapiù, whose sustainable viscose and carbon-fiber yarn is the basis for its new Relax collection, a 10-piece knit wardrobe launching today at Alaïa boutiques, its web store, and Net-a-porter.com.

The brand extension suggests an initial step into “lifestyle” territory for the Compagnie Financière Richemont-owned fashion house, which in February named Pieter Mulier — the longtime right hand of designer Raf Simons — its new creative director, nudging the label away from rehashes of its archival designs the past few years.
In tandem with the launch of Relax knitwear, Alaïa is opening a treatment cabin later this month at its boutique at 5 Rue de Marignan in Paris for Martine de Richeville, inventor of a massage technique dubbed Remodelage for sculpting the body and ridding it of old cellulite. De Richeville operates treatment salons in Paris, Geneva, Brussels, London and at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York.

Alaïa tapped two lithe and athletic women to represent the Relax line: ballet dancer Letizia Galloni of the Opéra de Paris, and Hajiba Fahmy, a contemporary dancer and choreographer who represented Alaïa at a digital event in November for The Editions line of archival styles.

A bodysuit from Maison Alaïa’s new Relax line. 

The two women were photographed by Billy Ballard and filmed by Louis Evennou wearing taut warm-up jackets, high-waisted briefs, bra-like tops and leggings — all with seaming details, openwork and embroideries.
Thanks to its compressive quality, the knitwear “creates an overall feeling of well-being,” according to Alaïa, describing the second-skin garments as a “soft armor” designed to “hug, sheathe and enhance all body shapes, and accompany women in their movements.”
Available in black and garnet red, they are to retail from $1,160 for a cropped top to $4,480 for an “anti-stress” jumpsuit.
In an article dated Aug. 18, 1992, WWD noted that Alaïa had a yearlong exclusive on Lineapiù’s proprietary Relax fiber, then touted as “anti-shock and antipollution because it repels electromagnetic fields and radiation and acts as a protective lining.”
“Meeting and collaborating with Monsieur Alaïa has been the most extraordinary and fascinating experience,” Alessandro Bastagli, chief executive officer of Lineapiù Italia, told WWD on Wednesday. “We had the chance to work with a couturier that reinvented knitwear working on fluidity and construction like nobody before him has ever done. The outcome was one-of-a-kind pieces that exalt the wearability of the yarn and created a new aesthetic.”
A blend of rayon, nylon and carbon back then, today the Relax yarn is composed of 6 percent carbon fiber and 94 percent Enka viscose made of FSC-certified cellulose, sourced from wood obtained through sustainable forestry.

According to Lineapiù, the carbon fibers enhance the yarn’s comfort and provide a graphic effect. The spinner also markets a new yarn blending carbon fibers with organic cotton.
See also:
Fashion World Mourns Death of Azzedine Alaïa

Maison Alaïa Revives a Wardrobe of the Founder’s Emblematic Styles

Azzedine Alaïa ‘Maison’ Opens in Paris

Alber Elbaz: Let Me Entertain You, Digitally

Alber Elbaz: Let Me Entertain You, Digitally

Is Alber Elbaz the Jay Leno of fashion?
As reported, the designer is to unveil his long-awaited AZ Factory project at 8 p.m. on Jan. 26 with a film during couture week in Paris, and will follow it up immediately with “The AZ Factory World Tour” — billed as an an immersive, virtual experience — then a live broadcast the following day of “The Talk Show with Alber Elbaz & Friends.”
The “World Tour” and “Talk Show” — the first volleys of his new digital and entertainment-driven approach to fashion — are to go live respectively on Farfetch.com and Net-a-porter.com, his exclusive distribution partners, in addition to AZ Factory’s own direct-to-consumer website.
“It is a product-focused and a communications-focused project, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to bring it to the world in a fabulous, entertainment-driven way with two of the leaders of the digital luxury world,” Elbaz said in a statement.

A venture between Elbaz and Compagnie Financière Richemont, AZ Factory bills itself as a pioneer in launching a fashion brand “in an innovative format that promises to be educational, emotional, and of course, beautiful.”
The “World Tour” and “Talk Show” are described as “two special experiences that will bring the brand story to life via interactive, content-led concepts that are unique to each online player’s own DNA and audience.”

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Sheena Sauvaire, chief marketing officer at Net-a-porter.com, said the talk show would be “an irreverent spin on an analogue TV format inviting VIP guests to discuss what makes us happy through the themes of fashion, science and body positivity.”
Elbaz has “created a wholly new approach to launching a brand at a time when our industry is evolving and consumers are looking for escapism,” according to Sauvaire, who also highlighted a “shared belief that fashion should be joyous and uplifting.”
The “World Tour,” meanwhile, was conceived amid a pandemic that has made travel and gatherings nearly impossible.
“The next best thing was to use our creativity and technology to bring our customers on tour and let them jump on board, take a tour of the incredible collection, and help spread a feeling of joy and togetherness,” said Holli Rogers, chief brand officer at Farfetch.com. “The values of the brand — love, trust, respect and treating customers as friends, along with the desire to experiment and try new things — resonated strongly with our own values.”
AZ Factory is sure to be one of the most closely watched ready-to-wear debuts in 2021, marking Elbaz’s full return to the fashion scene more than five years after he exited Lanvin. His fashion start-up has been slowed by the coronavirus pandemic, which disrupted the industry in myriad ways.
Elbaz has been keeping details of his venture under wraps, posting some videos of working sessions on AZ Factory’s Instagram feed, and his personal account. These have a playful, irreverent spirit, with the designer sometimes obscuring his face with a cartoon likeness.
He lifted the lid on a new brand name and visual identity in November.
See also:

Mega Partnership: Farfetch Links With Alibaba, Richemont

Alber Elbaz Navigates Fashion World Post-Lanvin

The World According to Elbaz: The Designer Ponders Fashion’s Purpose

Alber Elbaz Will Return to Fashion Via Film, Not Runway

Alber Elbaz Will Return to Fashion Via Film, Not Runway

Alber Elbaz is making his long-awaited return to fashion via film, rather than the runway, WWD has learned.
“This is how I wanted to show it, even before COVID-19,” he said Monday. “It’s a digital world.”
Elbaz’s joint venture with Compagnie Financière Richemont, dubbed AZ Factory, is on the official couture schedule for Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. The Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode recently released a provisional calendar for Paris Couture Week, which runs from Jan. 25 to 28, but it listed only times and dates, not formats.
Pressed for details on his film, which has yet to be made, Elbaz demurred: “It’s a surprise.”
AZ Factory is sure to be one of the most closely watched ready-to-wear debuts in 2021, marking Elbaz’s full return to the fashion scene more than five years after he exited Lanvin. His fashion start-up has been slowed by the coronavirus pandemic, which disrupted the industry in myriad ways.

Elbaz has largely kept details of his venture under wraps, posting some videos of working sessions on AZ Factory’s Instagram feed, and his personal account. These have a playful, irreverent spirit, with the designer sometimes obscuring his face with a cartoon likeness.
He lifted the lid on a new brand name and visual identity in November, along with a few hints about his approach and his audience.

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“We design beautiful, solutions-driven fashion that works for everyone. It is a reset, it is the birth of a factory,” AZ Factory said in a brief statement, calling itself a “digital luxury brand based on innovation, technology and, above all, a place to experiment and try new ideas.”
Elbaz revealed his joint venture with Richemont in October 2019, set up AZ’s headquarters in Paris atop the Fondation Cartier, the contemporary art museum in a striking glass building by architect Jean Nouvel, and began building his team. Laurent Malecaze started as chief executive officer of AZ last month, joining from luxury retailer The Webster in New York.
When it was unveiled last year, Richemont and Elbaz described AZ as “an innovative and dynamic start-up, meant to turn dreams into reality.” The luxury giant, parent of brands including Cartier, Chloé, IWC, Van Cleef & Arpels and Dunhill, said the venture would be project-based rather than the standard seasonal approach of most designer collections.
See also:

Tipping Point: Fashion Flips Focus From Runway to Film

Alber Elbaz Pushed Out at Lanvin

Rupert’s Dream Realized: An All-Embracing Platform for Digital Luxury

Gabriela Hearst is the New Designer at Chloé

Gabriela Hearst is the New Designer at Chloé

Chloé has named Gabriela Hearst its new creative director, effective today.
She is expected to unveil her first collection for the storied French brand next March for the fall-winter 2021 season, and continue as creative director of her namesake, New York-based fashion house.
The appointment comes four days after Chloé revealed that Natacha Ramsay-Levi, who brought an edgy élan to the brand over a nearly four-year stint, was stepping down from the role.
A prominent proponent of sustainability, Hearst joins Chloé as it shifts to a purpose-driven business model hinged on social sustainability, and a particular focus on the advancement and empowerment of women, in addition to eco responsibility.

Hearst’s approach to fashion, sometimes dubbed “honest luxury,” certainly dovetails with the house’s new focus. She also has a strong track record with leather goods, her top-handled Nina bag a brisk seller right out of the starting gates.
A look from Gabriela Hearst RTW Spring 2021  Giovanni Giannoni/WWD

Hearst started her label in fall 2015 after taking over the operations of her father’s sheep ranch in Uruguay, and built a luxury women’s ready-to-wear and accessories business on the principles of timelessness, quality and sustainability. Among her raw materials is merino wool from the family farm.
She was named the American Womenswear Designer of the Year at the CFDA Fashion Awards last September and made her debut at Paris Fashion Week last October.

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“The paradigm that we always set ourselves is, ‘How are we going to do business 10 years from now, where there’s water shortages, where there’s less access to natural resources, lack of biodiversity?’” Hearst said on the sidelines of that show.
Last year, LVMH Luxury Ventures, an entity within LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, took an undisclosed minority stake in Gabriela Hearst LLC.
Hearst is self-taught. She didn’t go to business or design school, though sketching has always come naturally.
Gabriella Hearst in Paris  Kuba Dabrowski/WWD

Gabriela Hearst is the second collection she started from scratch, the first being Candela, a bohemian-flavored contemporary line launched in 2004. She is also a member by marriage of one of America’s foremost publishing dynasties, Hearst — her husband is Austin Hearst, grandson of William Randolph Hearst.
Founded in 1952 by Gaby Aghion and controlled by Swiss luxury group Richemont since its formation in 1988, Chloé has been designed by a rotating cast of design talents including Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, Phoebe Philo, Paulo Melim Andersson, Hannah MacGibbon and Clare Waight Keller.
Known by her close friends as Gaby, Hearst is believed to be the first Uruguayan woman to helm a Paris fashion house.
She was widely tipped as a frontrunner for the plum design post. Asked in a recent interview with WWD if she would work for another luxury house, she replied: “Never say never, but I’m so in love with what we do here, and it has to be similar ideologies.”
See Also:
Moore From L.A.: Gabriela Hearst, New American in Paris
Natacha Ramsay-Levi Exits Chloe
Chloé Quietly Shifts to Purpose-Driven Business Model

Natacha Ramsay-Levi Steps Down at Chloé

Natacha Ramsay-Levi Steps Down at Chloé

Natacha Ramsay-Levi, who brought an edgy elan to Chloé over a nearly four-year stint, is stepping down as creative director of the French fashion house, effective today.
Chloé revealed her departure in a brief press release, but stopped short of naming her successor, saying that would be done “in due course.”
“Over the last months of health, social and economic turmoil, I have thought about the changes I want to see in our industry and how to better align them with my own creative, intellectual and emotional values,” Ramsay-Levi said. “It is this reflection that makes me consider my future differently and desire to pursue new opportunities.”
Chloé chief executive officer Riccardo Bellini thanked Ramsay-Levi for making “a great contribution to Chloé, bringing at its center the intelligence and sense of mission that were defined by our founder. She is an important member of that proud tradition of women who have designed at Chloé. Her creative leadership and her vision have written a powerful and meaningful chapter in our story.”

Long a key associate of Nicolas Ghesquière, Ramsay-Levi joined Chloé in April 2017 from Louis Vuitton, where she had been creative director of women’s ready-to-wear since 2013.
The designer started her fashion career at Balenciaga in 2002, and rose through the design ranks to become Ghesquière’s top design deputy. When the Frenchman exited Balenciaga in 2013, she went on to consult for several brands, including Hermès and Acne Studios, before rejoining Ghesquière at Vuitton.

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Natacha Ramsay-Levi on the catwalk after her first show at Chloé.  WWD

Ghesquière was invariably in the front row of all of Ramsay-Levi’s shows to cheer her on.
That said, Ramsay-Levi kept a relatively low profile, even as she helped the house inch its way toward a more purpose-driven business model hinged on social sustainability and aiding the advancement of women.
Her spring 2021 fashion show, held outdoors in early October in the shadow of the Palais de Tokyo, featured T-shirts and dresses bearing words by the late American artist Corita Kent. A religious sister, Kent won acclaim in the Sixties for her slogan-based works about poverty, racism and war, and her messages of peace and social justice.
Chloé RTW Spring 2021  Giovanni Giannoni/WWD

Founded in 1952 by Gaby Aghion, Chloé has been designed by a rotating cast of design talents including Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, Phoebe Philo, Hannah MacGibbon and Clare Waight Keller.
See Also:
Chloé Founder Gaby Aghion Dies at 93
Chloé Quietly Shifts to Purpose-Driven Business Model
Chloé Taps Three Women Artists for Show Collaboration

Alaïa Is Animating Iconic Re-Editions With Dance, Naomi Campbell

Alaïa Is Animating Iconic Re-Editions With Dance, Naomi Campbell

Moroccan choreographer and dancer Hajiba Fahmy spins ecstatically in a delicate white dress, its long skirt fanning out dramatically, and her legs visible beneath the delicate, lace-like swirl. All around her, LED-lined walls crackle to life with mesmerizing imagery, and stirring electronic music swells.
Animating its fashion legacy with an artistic performance and high-tech wizardry, Alaïa is staging its first digital event today, with Naomi Campbell as “godmother” of the proceedings.
It’s all to exalt the Paris-based fashion house’s latest product volley, called The Editions, a wardrobe spanning 30 of the late designer’s most emblematic designs from 1981 to 2017. They went on sale worldwide on Nov. 16.

“We’re already sold out of a number of pieces,” said Myriam Serrano, chief executive officer of Alaïa, noting that stock of Fahmy’s “crinoline” dress, originally from the spring 2007 collection, evaporated within a week. “The people who know us are very happy to see that some iconic pieces are back because they weren’t available for such a long time. And I think we have some new customers discovering the Alaïa universe. So that’s great news.”
While one of fashion’s most acclaimed practitioners, Azzedine Alaïa was also famously discreet and reticent to follow most industry conventions, staging runway shows only intermittently — usually outside of main fashion weeks — and shunning ad campaigns, splashy parties and celebrity placements.

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But that’s changing. Joining Serrano on Zoom was Norman Lemay, who quietly joined Alaïa last June from Chloé as image director, a new post. Sharing his computer screen, he ran through the complexities of mounting tonight’s livestream, for which he employed programming experts at the La Gaîté Lyrique, a hub for digital arts and electronic music in Paris. In a behind-the-scenes clip, he shows them mapping details of the crinoline dress to project as patterns in the performance space.
Hajima Fahym performing in an Alaïa dress from The Editions with a backdrop depicting elements of the intricate skirt. 

Lemay noted that movement — and body language — is likely to be a recurring theme in brand communications, tying back to the founding couturier’s skill in transforming the silhouette of women, his swingy skater dresses a penultimate example.
Serrano lauded Fahmy, whose biggest claim to fame is choreographing some of Beyonce’s landmark 2018 Coachella performance, as an embodiment of the house esthetic.
“She’s really a mix of strength and grace, very feminine but at the same time sporty and strong,” she said. “And the best way to see our clothes is on the body and on a body in movement….I think it was really important to show how alive The Editions are, bringing back this energy and bringing back this vitality.
“It’s amazing to see this timeless dress from 13 years ago in that context. It really shows the new energy of the house,” she added.
Campbell, so close to Alaïa that she called him “Papa,” is to introduce the dance performance on Instagram Live, and chat with Karlie Kloss, among models she has taken under her wing, about the transmission of heritage, a key idea behind The Editions line.
“She speaks about transmission, but she does it in real life as well,” Serrano said of Campbell, a mentor to young models and a champion of many up-and-coming designers and worthy causes. “Naomi really speaks to the young generations as well. She’s really active in charities, and she really represents good values linked to what Alaïa is about: transmission, inclusivity, and generosity.”

Besides Campbell and Kloss, Alaïa has conscripted a host of other VIPs — including Veronica Webb, Rossy de Palma and Doutzen Kroes — to amplify the performance and model conversation on their own social channels.
There will also be live viewing events tonight — at an art gallery in Shanghai, and on a rooftop in Dubai — and all the content being generated will live on across Alaïa social channel and its e-store, Lemay said.
Serrano noted The Editions line will have a long life on the racks, and never go on sale. The second selection of iconic pieces from the archive will be unveiled to the trade in May.
Fanfare around the first drop includes activations at Alaïa boutiques in Paris, London and Dubai, digital storytelling galore, and pop-ups at key global retailers and e-tailers, including in Asia where the brand is less known.
Alaïa first presented the concept to its wholesale partners in June, and some 90 percent took on board The Editions, which represents about 20 percent of the entire spring 2021 offer. The garments and accessories carry sewn-in labels indicating their vintage; boast QR codes on the hangtags that link to online storytelling, and come packaged in special garment bags.
Since the founder passed away in 2017, Maison Alaïa has dabbled with vintage re-editions, often prototypes from his vast archives that were never commercialized. The Editions includes a few of these, but also signature designs such as a leather bra, biker jacket, elongated white shirt, and gladiator sandals.
Selections from the archive were made by Serrano, Carla Sozzani of Corso Como, who is president of the Alaïa Foundation, and Caroline Fabre, Alaïa’s director of heritage, editions and couture.
The re-editions are made using the same patterns and fabrications, and priced roughly the same, or slightly higher, than the seasonal collections.

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