Richemont Offers up to 2.77B for All of YNAP

MILAN – Compagnie Financière Richemont has launched a voluntary tender offer on all ordinary shares of the Yoox Net-a-porter Group SpA at 38 euros per share, for a value of up to 2.77 billion euros. Richemont plans to acquire 51  percent of YNAP shares it does not already own.
“With this new step, we intend to strengthen Richemont’s presence and focus on the digital channel, which is becoming critically important in meeting luxury consumers’ needs,” said Johann Rupert, chairman of Richemont. “We see a meaningful opportunity to strengthen further Yoox Net-a porter Group’s  leading positioning in luxury e-commerce, growing the business in existing and new geographies, increasing product availability and range, and continuing to develop unparalleled services and content for today’s highly discerning consumers. As part of our Group, Yoox Net-a-porter Group would continue to operate as a separate business, ensuring it remains a neutral and highly attractive platform for third party luxury brands.”
On Monday morning following the announcement, Richemont shares were broadly flat at 90.16 Swiss francs, while shares in YNAP surged 24.3 percent to 37.60 euros.
Federico Marchetti, founder of Yoox and chief executive office of YNAP, said this marked a “historic event” for the luxury e-tailer.
Richemont, already YNAP’s largest shareholder,

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New Directions at Berlin Fairs

BERLIN — The hurricane-force storm that swept through Germany on Thursday may be symbolic for Berlin’s fashion scene as both Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and the trade shows underwent significant restructurings this season.
Running from Jan. 16 to 18, the eight fairs included Premium Group’s four fairs Premium, Show&Order, Seek and Bright; commercial platform Panorama; men’s wear show Selvedge Run, and Messe Frankfurt’s Ethical Fashion Show and Greenshowroom that focus on sustainability.
The fairs traditionally attract buyers mainly from the Germany, Austria and Switzerland — D-A-CH — regions who want to get a first overview of the season as part of their order process, and international exhibitors who target the D-A-CH markets, although organizers reported an increase in international visitors.
Premium Exhibition continued to boost their #Fashiontech platform and additionally implemented more experience and community concepts across their four fairs, among others an influencer program for exhibitors at Premium and Show&Order, and a trade union in order to boost order processes at Seek and Bright. Greenshowroom and Ethical Fashion Show introduced Fashionsustain, a conference format to address future challenges in the fashion industry.
“The move of Show&Order to the grounds of Premium as well as our new point-of-experience approach were very well received. We had more

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Adwoa Aboah Became $1 Million Model Under Lions, Agency’s Suit Claims – WWD

The Lions isn’t giving up on its lawsuit against DNA, accusing the rival modeling agency of poaching Adwoa Aboah after she became a highly sought-after face.

Lions told a New York court this week that when it signed Aboah in early 2015, she was earning $25,000 a year as a model and by the summer of last year, that number had jumped to $1 million. Shortly after Aboah reached that earning power, she was spirited away to join DNA, allegedly the result of a scheme between Aboah’s fashionably connected mother, Camilla Lowther, and her “close friend,” DNA cofounder David Bonnouvrier.

Aboah is not a defendant in the suit, while Lowther and Bonnouvrier are accused of inducing her breach of contract and defection to DNA late last year, allegedly costing Lions “substantial fees” from deals that were being negotiated, like a campaign with an unarmed but “major” cosmetics company. The agency is seeking unspecified damages.

Lowther at the end of December pushed the court to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing she did nothing intentional or improper, and that her daughter is not actually accused of breaching any contract because she held the right to end her representation.

“Essentially, the complaint pleads that Ms. Aboah left LMM [Lions Model Management] even though she was enjoying success as a model,” Lowther wrote in her motion. “Who’s to say that those successes were the work of LMM? Not LMM. And who’s to say that even with those successes, LMM had performed its other obligations, such as billing and collections, making advances and providing Ms. Aboah with career advice and guidance? Again, not LMM.”

Bonnouvrier and DNA also argued in October that Aboah held the right to terminate her contract, and that they are likewise “entitled to compete fairly with rival management companies.” The agency added that models are “not indentured servants and are free to move from one management firm to another.”

But Lions this week tried to argue that beyond having a contract to represent Aboah exclusively in the U.S. for three years, it also served as the federal sponsor for her work visa, which as a citizen of the U.K., “limited Aboah to working exclusively through the Lions.”

But over the summer Lions claims that Lowther and Bonnouvrier got Aboah a work visa through DNA, which was granted at the start of September, and only then did Lowther allegedly “direct” Aboah to terminate her contract with Lions. Lowther had also allegedly negotiated a reduced commission fee with DNA, meaning Aboah would take home more money than she had at Lions.

When Lions refused to release Aboah, she and Lowther allegedly “made it known that [Lowther] would use her influence to cause problems for the Lions in the fashion industry,” Lions said. The agency added that around the time it started negotiating with Aboah, DNA “had been suffering with model defections and needed a renowned model to help its business.”

Lowther runs CLM Agency, which represents creatives across the fashion editorial industry, including photographers Tim Walker and Juergen Teller, and stylists Katie Grand and Venetia Scott, who recently took up the style-director position at British Vogue left open by the clamorous exit of Lucinda Chambers.

Grand recently styled Marc Jacobs’ spring beauty campaign, which stars Aboah, and the model nabbed the first cover of British Vogue under new editor in chief Edward Enninful.

Regardless of the defendants’ arguments for dismissal, Lions said the “tortious interference” with Aboah’s contract by Lowther and Bonnouvrier is clear, and urged the court to move the case on to the discovery phase.

For More, See:

Adwoa Aboah Fronts Edward Enninful’s First Issue of British Vogue

Naomi Campbell Signs With DNA Model Management

The Lions Model Management Signs First ‘Plus-Size’ Model, Jess Miller

The White Briefs Opens First Boutique in Paris

WHITE SPACE: Nearly nine years after its launch, Swedish intimate apparel brand The White Briefs has opened its first retail outpost, a minimal space in the Upper Marais. More than just a store, the 1,000-square-foot space will serve as a creative hub and showroom for the pared back label.
“We’ve always worked only with wholesale, and this is the opportunity to show our full identity,” said Peter Simonsson, cofounder of the brand with his wife Henriette, at the store opening Thursday evening. The pair is now based in the French capital.
“This area still has a lot of authenticity in it, and I wanted to surprise people,” he said of the location on Rue Notre Dame de Nazareth.
They stripped back the former gallery space, leaving its 500-year-old rough walls and concrete tiled floor unadorned and adding mirrored fixtures and white curtain dividers to punctuate the interior, where the label’s ready-to-wear and underwear for men and women hang on display on pale wood rails.
The White Briefs currently has around 100 wholesale accounts worldwide, with stockists including Opening Ceremony in New York, Los Angeles and London and Printemps in Paris, although its biggest markets for the moment are Japan and Germany.
“We’re aiming to multiply our

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UBM Placed on Credit Watch Positive by S&P Global Ratings

S&P Global Ratings placed UBM PLC on credit watch positive on Friday following news of its potential acquisition by Informa PLC.
As reported, the boards of London-based companies Informa and UBM disclosed a proposal this week to combine the two groups to create a leading business-to-business information services group. The deal from Informa would send UBM 3.8 billion pounds, or $5.3 billion, in cash and stock, forming a world-leading exhibition and business events group worth 9 billion pounds.
The proposed combination is expected to be achieved through a share and cash offer by Informa for the entire share capital of UBM. Under the terms of the proposed combination, UBM shareholders would receive 1.083 Informa shares for each UBM share and 163 pence.
Sources said the talks began last year after Informa, which has a valuation of 6.1 billion pounds, approached smaller rival UBM about a possible deal. UBM has a market cap of 3.5 billion pounds.
A firm offer has not been made and the complete financial terms of the proposal aren’t certain.
Informa is a business intelligence, academic publishing and exhibitions group, while UBM organizes more than 300 market-leading business-to-business events every year, operating in more than 20 countries.
According to S&P Global Ratings, “The CreditWatch

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Highsnobiety Secures $8.5 Million Investment – WWD

Sneaker blog turned men’s online lifestyle brand Highsnobiety has secured an $8.5 million dollar investment in a funding round led by Felix Capital.

We are delighted to partner with an influential media brand like Highsnobiety, whose fast-growing, global community represents the next generation of trend setters and early adopters,” said Frederic Court, founder and managing partner of Felix Capital. “Their platform has become a critical hub for emerging trends in art, fashion and culture, and through their content production arm, they’re helping brands connect with today’s youth in ways that drive culture forward. This partnership is a great illustration of our investment thesis; to back founders who are building digital brands that have the potential to impact the world.”

This marks the first time that Highsnobiety, which started as a sneakers and Streetstyle focused blog in 2005 and now touts a staff that has grown from 15 to 100 across offices in New York, London and Berlin, is taking outside venture capital funding.

The company plans to use the investment to beef up its content studio, build out its live events arts and further develop its commerce arm.

“The proceeds of this funding round also allow us to do more with our brand partners,” Jeff Carvalho, Highsnobiety’s managing director said. “A big focus will be on expanding our content production arm, Highsnobiety+, to help brands stay viable and connect with the next generation in impactful ways, launching an exclusive event series, and exploring commerce opportunities that fit within our content.”

“It’s really going to be business as usual for us. David and I are still very much focused on the original mission that we have, which is to be an influential voice for forward-thinking young men,” Carvalho added.

And, as with anything, timing is everything.

“The things we have been writing about for the past 13 years have exploded in that time. Men’s wear was not a thing in 2005. Sneaker culture was not a thing in 2005. And streetwear certainly wasn’t either. To a certain degree, we got lucky. The very topics that Highsnobiety was founded on became a global trend,” Highsnobiety founder David Fischer said.

Hussein Chalayan Secures Minority Investment From Centricus

LONDON — Designer Hussein Chalayan has a new minority investor. Centricus, the global investment platform, confirmed Friday it has taken a 20 percent stake in the Chalayan brand as part of a bigger plan to delve into the fashion, entertainment, media and sports industries.
Centricus added that Mehves Ariburnu, a former banker, founder of the contemporary art gallery MANA and member of Tate’s acquisition committee will be named chief executive officer of the Chalayan Group.
Chalayan launched in the business after Browns in London purchased his graduate collection in 1993 and displayed it in their South Molton Street windows. As part of that collection, known as “The Tangent Flows,” the Central Saint Martin’s graduate produced pieces that he’d buried in the ground and later exhumed.
Over the past decades, Chalayan would continue to produce thought-provoking women’s and men’s collections that incorporated architectural shapes and design themes, digital technology and LED lighting. He has long been one of the industry’s thinkers — and provocateurs. Most recently, his pre-fall 2018 collection addressed his concerns about immigration.
The designer has a flagship in Mayfair, and in the past designed the Vionnet collection along with that brand’s owner Goga Ashkenazi and the creative team.
The investment is Centricus’ first in

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Former Gucci America Executive Matteo Mascazzini Tapped as New Geox CEO

MILAN – Former Gucci America chief operating officer Matteo Mascazzini is expected to take on the chief executive officer role at Geox SpA – a position to be made official during a board meeting that will be held on Feb. 1.   He will succeed Gregorio Borgo, who is leaving the Italian footwear company after only one year.
Mascazzini has 20 years of experience in fashion. For 10 years, he held several positions within Gucci, including associate president of Gucci Europe, Middle East and India, and president and ceo of Gucci Japan, among others.
From 2003 to 2007, he was chief operating officer and chief financial officer at Giorgio Armani in America and Japan. Before that, he was group controller for the Gianni Versace group.
Geox president Mario Moretti Polegato underscored Mascazzini’s experience and said he was “certain” the executive will “boost the growth of the group and align marketing, communication, brand and product strategy with commercial distribution to allow Geox to reach important results in terms of growth and profitability in the near future.”
Following the release of Geox year-end sales, which fell 1.8 percent to 884.3 million euros, and despite Moretti Polegato’s confidence in the efforts made last year aimed at operative efficiency,

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Swander Pace Moves Into Personal Care With J.R. Watkins Deal – WWD

Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews

All Is ‘Wellness’ at the Financo Forum

The wellness industry is growing fast and bound to be a bigger part of the retail scene, according to one of the business world’s visionaries, Mindy Grossman, chief executive officer of Weight Watchers and former ceo of HSNi.
“The wellness industry is approaching $4 trillion. Healthy living transcends every product category and experience,” said Grossman, while moderating a panel on wellness Monday at the annual Financo Forum. “The idea of purpose today is so important.”
According to Grossman, wellness is growing at a 15 percent rate and lifestyle real estate will grow significantly with spa retail and fitness. “However, there’s global health crisis with obesity. Forty percent of the U.S. population is obese, 31 percent is overweight and diabetes has quadrupled since 1980.”
The Financo Forum panel included Eugene Remm of Rumble and Catch Restaurants, Kara Goldin of Hint Water, Michael Karsch of Juice Press and Marcia Kilgore, founder of Bliss Spa and most recently Beauty Pie.
“Brands are less important to people than ever,” opined Kilgore, who said her private label beauty products are made at the same factories where luxury beauty products are made and that she sells her products online and at cost. She makes her money by charging memberships for

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