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.
Breaking: @cushnieetochs’ co-founders @carlycushnie and @ochsmichelle are parting ways. After a 10-year run, Ochs is leaving the brand. Get the full story on WWD.com – link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
@maybelline’s Kanako Takase had snow bunnies in mind when creating the beauty look for @philipppleininternational. Playing off of the bedazzled snowboards in the collection, Takase mixed two highlighters together for a luminous sheen. #wwdbeauty #nyfw (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
“There’s a huge gap between the old way of doing things and today. It takes the youth to help evolve that. You have to count on the kids today to help lead you into the future. A lot of these retailers are stuck in the past. Communication is the biggest thing,” said @ronniefieg of @kith on the youth’s role in retail. On Monday night, Jeff Staple moderated a keynote session with Fieg and @syresmith at Assembly - a series of workshops, talks and keynotes addressing topics or issues in the apparel industry. Head to WWD.com to read more advice from Fieg and what Smith thinks of his dad @willsmith’s Instagram account and sustainability (📷: @weston.wells)
@joansmalls closed the @michaelkors fall 2018 show in black sequined pants and a varsity T printed with 19 on the front and 81 on the back. 1981 – the year Kors went into business. #wwdfashion #nfyw (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
“You think your life is going to be a certain way, and nothing you thought would happen ends up happening. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be designing clothes and working with Mickey Drexler, and building something I’m deeply proud of,” said Jenna Lyons. Nine months after leaving @jcrew, Lyons is exploring the meaning of happiness. Read the interview, where Lyons talks about reinvention and more on WWD.com – link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Farrell) #jennalyons #jcrew