Forty years ago, Leslie H. Wexner, always an avid reader, made the decision to eschew fiction in favor of history and biographies because, in his view, reality was much more compelling than make-believe. Yet Wexner’s personal tale is the stuff that dreams are made of. In 1963, Wexner borrowed $5,000 from his aunt to start The Limited, a clothing store geared towards young women. First-year sales soared to $160,000. Just six years later, Wexner took the company public, with shares of The Limited offered at $7.25. Today, the stock trades in the mid-60s range, and Wexner’s company, L Brands Inc., has evolved into a $10 billion retail powerhouse in the personal care and lingerie segments through its superstar formats: Bath and Body Works and Victoria’s Secret, as well as Pink, Henri Bendel and La Senza. The 76-year-old self-made billionaire is the longest-serving chief executive of a Fortune 500 company, and he remains as vitally involved in the business today as when he founded the company 50 years ago. He’s also as outspoken as ever—most recently sparking a fierce industry-wide debate when he proclaimed department stores irrelevant.
Whether or not you agree with Wexner on that particular point, his impact on beauty and retailing is undisputed. And for a year that saw so much activity in the retail arena, we could think of no more-fitting honoree for WWD Beauty Inc’s 2013 Visionary of the Year award. Wexner recently sat down for a rare—and revealing—in-depth interview with WWD’s executive editor of beauty, Pete Born.
“I grew up in New York but I hadn’t really experienced the city in any type of touristy way…This was probably the first museum I really explored and took the time to see,” said @haileybaldwin of the @whitneymuseum. On Tuesday night, Baldwin was joined by Jemima Kirke and more at the annual Whitney Museum Gala and Studio Party, which honored Lorna Simpson, Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo and Beth Rudin DeWoody. See more photos on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
Displayed starting this week at the @fashiontextilemuseum: An exhibition on designer @orlakiely titled “Orla Kiely: A Life in Pattern,” which spans two decades and contains more than 150 pieces. “I want people to come away loving pattern and print. It’s something that makes you feel so good,” said the designer during a preview of the exhibit. Also on show are mood boards, samples, sketches and more. Head to WWD.com to see more photos. #wwdfashion
Exclusive: @dsquared2 signs fragrance licensing agreement with Euroitalia, with the first effort of the new partnership being unveiled in September. The brand will launch two scents – one for men and one for women – in Italy. Read our interview with designer Dean and Dan Caten on WWD.com. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@louisvuitton has officially renewed Nicolas Ghesquière’s contract as artistic director of women's collections. "I am very pleased to open the next chapter of the story I started with Louis Vuitton almost 5 years ago," said Ghesquière, who first signed on to design the French luxury brand's women's line in 2013. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
“I learned then and there that I had to figure out a way in life to maintain and preserve my sense of pride when I felt good about what I did or what I represented or created,” said @saintrecords on how being bullied for wearing capri pants inspired her to be the artist she is today. Knowles was at the 70th Parsons Benefit last night where she outbid the room for a Dapper Dan customized @gucci experience. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
“There’s this amazing braintrust of people who know the whole universe so well. So we talked to them and they gave us more input,” said actor Alden Ehrenreich on playing the young Han Solo in “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” The cast was at NYC’s SVA Theatre last night for an advanced screening of the film, which hits theaters this week. #wwdeye #starwars #hansolo (📷: @aurorarosedecrosta)
@asaprocky spent nearly two hours in a Plexiglas box Sunday night at @sothebys putting himself through a series of “tests” to demonstrate the process of completing his new album called “Testing.” Get all the details and see all the pictures on WWD.com. #wwdeye
“I’ve struggled my whole life to find a bathing suit that fits me that doesn’t look like a maternity bra. I’m proud of the line because it’s an accurate representation of me rather than me putting on someone else’s clothes,” says @atlantabean of her swimwear collaboration with @piaarrobio, LPA X ATL. The two decided on a swimwear collab and increased the industry standard size for the pieces. Read more about the line — and our interview with de Cadenet Taylor and Arrobio — on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Dan Doperalski)