Pucci Goes Back Home, Dior Lands in Michigan, LVMH’s Board Pick
HOMETOWN GLORY: Emilio Pucci’s next collection will be unveiled at a fashion show in the house’s hometown of Florence on May 4, WWD has learned.
It will mark the first runway showcase for Pucci artistic director Camille Miceli, who has preferred multiday lifestyle “experiences” since she arrived at the creative helm in September 2021.
The venue for the evening display and other details are still under wraps. The summer collection that will be unveiled, dubbed “Initials E.P.,” is expected to pay tribute to the founder by “freshly exploring the roots of the maison.”
An image from the Pucci archives shows models on the barrel-clay-tile rooftop of Palazzo Pucci wearing the spring-summer 1967 collection of flowing evening dresses, terrycloth capes and wide-legged jumpsuits.
Controlled by luxury giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton since 2000, Pucci is now a resort-focused brand that unveils collections on a see-now, buy-now basis, although each unveiling includes several drops.
Miceli unveiled her debut collection in April 2022 over a two-day event that included a yoga class and dining on the beach in Capri, the island where founder Emilio Pucci opened his initial boutique in 1951.
She followed up with a three-day event last December at the glamorous Swiss mountain resort of St. Moritz, where she unveiled a Pucci x Fusalp skiwear collection.
Founder Emilio Pucci, who died in 1992, was a member of the Italian Olympic ski team in 1932. He began designing skiwear out of jersey fabrics in 1947 and opened his house in Florence in 1949.
Considered one of Italy’s fashion pioneers in outfitting the jet set, Pucci quickly became synonymous with dazzling, colorful prints and glamorous lifestyles. — MILES SOCHA
MICHIGAN, NO LONGER A DREAM: Dior has opened its first location in Michigan, a richly designed and decorated store in the Somerset Collection shopping center in Troy, which is part of the greater Detroit area.
The store, at 2801 West Big Beaver Road, spotlights the Dior women’s and men’s fashions as well as fine jewelry, timepieces, sunglasses, sneakers and belts.
The womenswear area furniture was supplied by various galleries and designers. Featured pieces include a Bruno Moinard sofa, Eros console by Angelo Mangiarotti and a side table Fetiche by Negropontes Gallery Paris. The menswear area’s furniture was selected from special designers. Featured pieces include Gio Ponti armchairs, a Neri & Hu side table and a Steiner armchair. Dior commissioned unique works of art for the store, including artwork by Louis Frydman. — DAVID MOIN
BOARD PICK: LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton plans to add a seasoned finance executive to its board.
At its next annual general meeting, due to be held on April 20, the French luxury conglomerate will propose the appointment of Laurent Mignon, group chief executive officer of investment firm Wendel, whose core shareholder is the Wendel family.
In addition, Mignon is vice chairman of the board of global certification firm Bureau Veritas and sits on the board of specialty materials manufacturer Arkema and AROP, the association of the Friends of the Paris Opera.
He is also a non-voting member of Franco-German financial services group Oddo BHF.
Prior to taking up his post at Wendel in December 2022, Mignon spent more than 12 years at Groupe BPCE, where he was CEO of corporate and investment bank Natixis and chairman of the executive board of Groupe BPCE from May 2018 to December 2022, among other positions.
After graduating from French business school HEC in 1986 and completing the Stanford Executive Program, Mignon worked for more than 10 years for Banque lndosuez, first in capital markets and then in corporate and investment banking. He has also held positions at Schroders Bank in London; insurance and financial services firm AGF, and Oddo & Cie.
If approved by shareholders, Mignon will be the first new member of the LVMH board since 2018. In addition to Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of LVMH, the board includes his children, Delphine Arnault and Antoine Arnault, as well as Italian executive Diego Della Valle, among others. — JOELLE DIDERICH
HEADING FOR THE SLOPES: Saks is hosting a weekend getaway in Aspen from Thursday through Sunday for Saks Limitless, its invite-only loyalty program.
Throughout the weekend, Saks Limitless clients and influential guests will be treated to a wide variety of luxury experiences including a horse and sleigh ride to the legendary Pine Creek Cookhouse, a mountaintop après-ski party at Aspenx Beach Club, guided skiing and snowboarding sessions on Aspen Mountain, spa treatments, private shopping appointments with local Aspen jewelry brand Atlas Fine by Ashley Wein, among other activities.
Some 20 guests will participate, and everything is complimentary, including the hotel.
Saks will also host virtual events on Saks Live throughout the weekend to give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the exclusive experience. For example on Friday at 2 p.m., content creator and founder of the Tezza app Tezza Barton will style what she’ll be wearing for her weekend in Aspen with Saks, and on Saturday at noon, Saks Live will feature Ashley Wein talking about her jewelry brand.
“We are excited to see Saks Limitless continue to grow as we deliver access to more exclusive experiences and an unparalleled level of personalized service through the program,” said Mariel Sholem, vice president of Saks Limitless. “Top customers are important to our long-term strategy, and we remain committed to providing these high-value clients with the very best Saks has to offer. This incredible trip to Aspen serves as an example of how we bring the Saks experience to life for our top clients in new and exciting ways that are relevant to their lifestyles.”
As of March, Saks Limitless includes more than 5,000 top clients across the Saks Fifth Avenue ecosystem. — LISA LOCKWOOD
CHOOSING TILDA: South Korean skin care brand Sulwhasoo has tapped Tilda Swinton as its latest global brand ambassador.
According to the brand, through this position Swinton will be promoting Sulwhasoo’s global mission of “building a world of beauty powered by art and heritage.”
The Academy Award-winning actress joins Blackpink member Rosé, who was appointed as a global brand ambassador in 2022. This news comes on the heels of the brand’s recent announcement of a one-year partnership with The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, through which the two will create programming to celebrate global heritage.
To kick-start her new role, Swinton, who has been a longtime fan of Sulwhasoo, appears in the brand’s second “brand universe” style video shot at the House of Sulwhasoo Bukchon in Seoul, South Korea. Rosé featured in the first “brand universe” style video last September. These videos aim to bring consumers into the Sulwhasoo world to experience the origin of the brand and its products.
In a quote featured on the brand’s Instagram, Swinton said, “I think spirit and heritage are really beyond valuable. There’s really a reason to focus on things that don’t change because they never will.”
In the new video titled “I Am Ginseng,” Swinton discusses her love for ginseng, an ingredient that has been at the core of the brand since its origin. The ingredient is featured in several of the brand’s current bestsellers, including the Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream, $260, and the Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Serum, $210.
This appointment follows Sulwhasoo’s recent rebranding initiative, unveiled last August through a campaign tagged #SulwhasooRebloom. Through this, the brand committed its efforts to showcasing how Sulwhasoo’s heritage led to it “blooming” into a modern, luxury global brand.
With rebranding and recent partnership news, Sulwhasoo plans to scale its presence globally, further expanding its footprint and presence outside of Korea. — EMILY BURNS
VIRTUAL TRY-ON: Maria Tash has launched virtual try-on software that lets shoppers plot out their piercing schemes before they even step foot in her store.
The jeweler’s Tash Studio software has been in development for more than five years and is more than just a sticker-type application.
“It’s fully rendered jewelry that uses AI to employ real piercing principles — it knows where rings and studs actually go on the ear and has principles of gravity built in. It knows the inner diameter of earrings and how much gravity sits on a ring. You can rotate studs 360 degrees,” Tash said of the program, which also knows where to not allow certain piercings on the ear.
Tash’s brand has been building out its collection of earring charms recently — allowing customers to add a little more zing to their look. In the Tash Studio program, charm use is encouraged: “You can take a charm and drag it onto a ring, and it knows which charm goes with which ring and it hangs appropriately,” she said.
Tash sees the software, which is now available for use on her brand’s site, as a multipronged opportunity. It enables a wider sense of comfort among consumers, helping them make decisions about body jewelry before they even enter her store. The program is already proven to boost online sales for those who already have piercings and want to plot out a new earring scheme.
“Initial data shows that our consumers spend more time and money [on our site]. Confidence is up and returns are down because of sizing,” Tash said.
The designer added that, “I have a vision for Maria Tash. This will not only live online in e-commerce, but it’s something we can deploy in-store when shoppers queue up. We do think it will create a bump in revenue for obvious reasons.”
That’s not the end of Tash’s ambition with the software. She plans to license it to other piercing and jewelry brands in the future.
“Right now we are in observation mode but we have high hopes for the software. We would like to work with other brands and think we can expand this in the future with partners,” Tash said. — MISTY WHITE SIDELL
CHILD’S PLAY: Ramy Brook, the women’s contemporary firm, is getting into the children’s business.
The first collection will launch on Thursday at ramybrook.com and at Ramy Brook’s Madison Avenue boutique.
The collection includes dresses, cover-ups and swimwear for girls ages 18 month to 12 years old. Many of the looks are matching versions of the women’s line and can be worn for mommy-and-me occasions.
The collection retails from $98 to $168.
Ramy Brook has always appealed to a multigenerational customer, and designing for both moms and their daughters has always been one of founder and chief creative officer Ramy Sharp’s goals.
“I’ve always designed clothing that both mothers and daughters could enjoy wearing, and since the start, we’ve done mother-daughter shoots for Ramy Brook. Creating a collection for little kids has been a longtime dream of mine that I’m now so excited to bring to life. Sharing clothes and inspiration with my daughter Stevie is something so special for me. With this new extension of Ramy Brook, I hope it sparks the same kind of joy for other mothers and daughters,” said Sharp. — L.L.
Prada Group Debuts Forestami Academy
GREEN CULTURE: The Prada Group’s commitment to building a sustainable future are trickling down to socially charged projects as the company strengthens its ties with the Milan-based tree plantation initiative Forestami to debut the “Forestami Academy.”
Last year, the luxury group had revealed a partnership with the program spearheaded by Milan’s municipality, the Lombardy region, and other territorial entities to plant 3 million trees in the city by 2030 and help safeguard its natural environment.
Now Prada is adding an educational component to the project, pledging the organization of workshops, panels and outdoor activities over three years geared at educating citizens on urban forestation.
“Urban reforestation is at the center of international debate and is particularly relevant for Milan, a city that wants and has to offer more and more greenery. In addition to supporting the Forestami project as a whole, the Prada Group has decided to launch the Forestami Academy, a series of workshops dedicated to all citizens offering educational opportunities on these topics,” said Lorenzo Bertelli, Prada Group’s head of corporate social responsibility and an advocate of the project.
“As a group, we have always valued education and promoting culture and we are sure that the deep knowledge of the Italian and international speakers will be a great source of inspiration for attending audiences,” he said.
Lectures and workshops in the first year will focus on “Knowing Forests and Where They Grow,” held by British Columbia University professor Cecil Konijnendijk, FAO member and professor Simone Borelli and representatives from the Netherlands-based Delft University of Technology. The outdoor portion of the program is to be spearheaded by Giorgio Vacchiano, associate professor of the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at Milan’s Università Statale.
Interested citizens can apply starting Tuesday and until April 21 on a dedicated website.
In 2024, the courses will center on “Urban Forestry: Well-being and Health,” while in 2025 they will focus on the subject “Plants and Their Presence in Cities.”
Forestami Academy is not the first educational program jumpstarted by the Prada Group.
Last year, it wrapped the second edition of its Sea Beyond project, a partnership between the group and UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission composed of three main initiatives: an educational module for students all over the world, the launch of the Kindergarten of the Lagoon — a program of outdoor lessons for children in preschool — and an educational path specifically designed for the more than 13,000 employees of the company.
EXCLUSIVE: Dior Promotes Olivier Bialobos to Deputy Managing Director
Underscoring the crucial role of creative events and unique storytelling in the luxury sector, Dior has promoted its longtime communications executive Olivier Bialobos to deputy managing director in charge of global communication and image, WWD has learned.
It’s a new role reporting to Delphine Arnault, who in February moved over from Louis Vuitton to become chairman and chief executive officer of Christian Dior Couture.
“I am delighted to be able to rely on Olivier’s great talent, expertise and commitment to accompany the house of Dior and its development in the coming years,” Arnault said in an internal announcement shared exclusively with WWD.
A 17-year veteran of the French fashion firm, Bialobos most recently served as One Dior chief communication and image officer, with oversight of the French house’s fashion and beauty activities.
Before that, his title was chief communication and image officer of Christian Dior Couture.
“For many years, Olivier has made an essential contribution to the image of Dior, notably through exceptional fashion shows, exhibitions and global events,” added Charles Delapalme, managing director of Christian Dior Couture.
Delapalme went on to call Bialobos “one of the strong pillars of the house.”
It is understood Bialobos will continue to have purview over all categories, from fashion and jewelry to beauty, to cultivate coherence across all brand expressions. For beauty matters, he reports to Véronique Courtois, who recently took the helm of Parfums Christian Dior.
Bialobos joined Dior in 2006 to head up the brand’s global communications effort, and nimbly shaped and shepherded the house image amid a succession of creative directors and CEOs. Early in his tenure he established Dior Héritage, the archive that allowed the brand to mount multiple exhibitions worldwide, and helped create its permanent Galerie Dior, a museum attached to the revamped 30 Avenue Montaigne flagship.
According to sources, the museum attracted more than 400,000 visitors in its first year of operation.
Meanwhile, the “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams” showcase has logged successful runs in Paris, New York, London, Dallas, Shanghai and Chengdu, China, and is now on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo.
Bialobos also lent his creative touch to innumerable Dior events, from its gingerbread-themed takeover of Harrods late last year to the pre-fall men’s show last December against a backdrop of the pyramids of Giza near Cairo.
He also launched the in-house Dior Magazine, which just published its 41st issue. It includes a feature and photo shoot with its jewelry ambassador Elizabeth Debicki.
Over the past five years, Bialobos quietly headed up the Dior Maison business unit, dreaming up table displays to outshine state or royal dinners, and unfurling high-profile collaborations with the likes of Philippe Starck, who last year put his inimitable spin on the maison’s signature medallion chair. He will continue in that capacity as well.
A popular and dapper figure on the French fashion scene, Bialobos started his career in communications at Escada, going on to become director of the KCD agency in Paris and spearheading the fashion and beauty communications strategy for Yves Saint Laurent alongside Tom Ford.
He went on to become director of press and international public relations at YSL, his last job before joining Dior.
Fall 2023 Trends: Power Play
The fall 2023 collections debuted just as dynamics in the workplace are beginning to shift again. With employers — facing a potential recession and, in many cases, cutting jobs — further urging workers to return to the office and a further sense of normality, attention is being paid to money — how it’s earned and what to wear to earn it.
On the fall runways this translated to a predominance of tailoring. But unlike in recent seasons, leisurely cuts fell by the wayside as designers favored a sharp-shouldered silhouette resembling bankers’ uniforms or the power shoulders of the ’90s.
At Alexander McQueen, Sarah Burton borrowed from the late house founder’s Savile Row roots to come up with some of the strongest suits of the season. Her jackets featuring lapels that twisted around the neckline and flap pockets accenting the hips were about the “anatomy of clothing,” she told WWD, “revisiting construction of garments then tearing it apart and subverting it.”
Gabriela Hearst sent out an equally empowering collection for Chloé, explaining that due to the current financial distress, “we need more [female] bosses right now, everywhere.” Details, like ancient-looking gold coin buttons on peak-lapel blazers, took cues from a biblical girl-boss, Queen Esther, who risked her life to save the Jewish people of the Achaemenid Empire.
Where Burton and Hearst stuck to traditional notions of “power dressing” with mannish trousers and a heavy dose of leather, Khaite’s Catherine Holstein took the theme a little less on-the-nose. By matching her structured jackets with wispy floor-length skirts, the designer proved there’s still room for a touch of softness in the boardroom.
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