Façonnable, the French men’s and women’s apparel and accessories brand, filled its top executive post on Tuesday.
This story first appeared in the July 30, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Kenzo chief executive officer Alberto Lavia was named Façonnable ceo by M-1 Fashion, the Beirut, Lebanon-based investment house that acquired the company for $210 million from Nordstrom last year. He succeeds Mark Brashear, who resigned in March after six years.
Lavia, who will report to Façonnable’s board, will be responsible for restructuring the company’s worldwide organization, including refining its supply chain and charting an aggressive global growth strategy.
Before being named Kenzo ceo in September 2006, Lavia was chairman of Gruppo La Perla. For more than 10 years before that, he held a variety of executive positions in Europe. At PRL Fashions of Europe, a licensee of Polo Ralph Lauren, Lavia was acting chief operating officer, ceo and finally chairman. He remained with the company for four years after its acquisition by the Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. Prior to his tenure at Ralph Lauren, Lavia worked at Les Copains, Basile and Ferrero.
Maher Mikati, ceo of M-1 Fashion and an executive director of the M-1 Group, replaced Brashear temporarily as Façonnable’s ceo while the search for a successor was conducted.
M-1 hired Interbrand, a London-based brand consultancy to “refresh” Façonnable, which had sales of $220 million last year. Mikati said M-1 is not shifting Façonnable’s strategy, but will build on its heritage of sport chic and the French Riviera lifestyle.
“This is not a brand that’s in distress,” Simon Stacey, the Interbrand executive leading the project, said at the time of Brashear’s departure. “The store environments are clearly tired. They’re dark and quite traditional and represent a moment in time.” M-1 will take Façonnable to “new markets and to new customers,” he said. “There is quite an ambitious expansion program. It’s clear that M-1 acquired the brand because it saw great potential in what was an underinvested brand.”
Lavia’s “extensive experience in the luxury fashion sector makes him a unique asset as we restructure the brand and company for strategic global growth,” Mikati said.
“Façonnable offers tremendous growth opportunities, both through diversification and expansion into new channels and markets,” Lavia said. “I believe this brand has the potential to become a fashion giant.”