The New York-to-London-to-Milan-to-Paris odyssey this season saw more than 800 shows stretched over 28 days from February 9 to March 7. And the news, as always, never stops. Here, a spotcheck of stories that broke during the period and how they’re playing out.
Feb. 9 Barneys Reaches Out: The $700 million retailer’s debt burden is in the spotlight once again. It hires law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP to help renegotiate a $200 million revolving credit loan, fueling speculation about a range of scenarios—from refinancing to a sale of the company. However, Barneys officials assure that “it’s business as usual” at the store. The Upshot: Standard & Poor’s downgrades the luxe retailer’s corporate credit rating three notches to “CC” from “CCC.” S&P says it expects Barneys’ performance to improve along with luxury consumer spending, but that its credit protection metrics would not change meaningfully in the near term.
Feb. 10 M&Ms: The Martha v. Macy’s war gets juicier. Martha Stewart, who signed a deal in December to take her products from Macy’s to J.C. Penney’s, shoots back at Macy’s, claiming that the department store breached its contract by failing to “maximize net sales” of her branded products in its stores. Stewart’s company also says its recently extended contract with Macy’s should be deemed “invalid.” The Upshot: Like a Ping-Pong rally, it’s no surprise that Macy’s in late February fires another salvo at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’s counterclaims, stating that sales from 2007 to 2011 from third-party licenses, including Martha Stewart Collection, “actually increased.” Macy’s also says that Martha Stewart “acquiesced” to all its decisions, and that the process was a “collaborative” one. The matter is still pending in state court, as Macy’s continues to feature the Domestic Diva in its commercials. More mudslinging ahead. Feb. 13 Passing the Torch: Liliane Bettencourt says she will step down from the L’Oréal board. The 89-year-old’s seat will be taken by her 25-year-old grandson, Jean-Victor Meyers. The Bettencourt family is the single-largest shareholder in L’Oréal, with a 31 percent stake.
The Upshot: Jean-Victor Meyers, who takes over the board seat in March, is also a budding fashion entrepreneur. In February, he sets up a Paris-based firm called Exemplaire SAS, which manufactures apparel. He also is the legal protector of his grandmother, per a guardianship judge in Courbevoie, France, after a long and very public legal battle over her mental faculties. Feb.15 If I Were a Rich Man: The newly public Michael Kors Holdings releases its first earnings report, and shares soar 27.5 percent. The Upshot: Shares of Kors, which went public at $25 a share in December, are up more than 72 percent so far this year. Kors himself raises $117 million in the initial offering. The company prepares a secondary offering only three months after the IPO, and Kors sets a new standard for fashion firms. Its valuation of $8.97 billion has other fashion firms poring over their books to see what they would be worth if they went public or sold out—and designers trying to figure out their personal worth. Feb. 17 Triple Play: PPR is thinking big. François-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive officer of the French group, hopes to triple the size of its core luxury and sport and lifestyle divisions by the end of the decade and increase revenues to 24 billion euros, or $31.5 billion at current exchange—roughly on par with the sales posted by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in 2011. The Upshot: PPR says in March that it wants sustainability to be a “key driver” of the group, and names Jochen Zeitz a director of its board, chairing the firm’s new sustainability committee as chief sustainability officer. Zeitz has been putting together regular profit and loss accounts of select PPR companies’ impact on the environment. The accounts put a monetary value on a business’ use of green services across the supply chain and will be rolled out across PPR’s luxury, sport and lifestyle brands by 2015. Looking ahead, Pinault says Gucci plans to open 45 more stores this year, including 20 in the Asia-Pacific region; Balenciaga will continue its global retail expansion, and he looks at Indonesia as a potentially “bigger market for luxury than India.”
Feb. 17 Avon Calling: There are rumblings of discontent at Avon Products Inc. as pressures build to find a new chief executive officer, with its current ceo Andrea Jung set to assume the executive chairman role once a successor is in place. The pressures mount following operational missteps and investigations of corruption in China, as well as Securities and Exchange Commission probes.
The Upshot: Coty Inc. on April 2 makes a $10 billion takeover offer, but Avon shoots it down. The $23.25 a share bid values Avon at 1.1 times annual revenues and represents a chance for Coty to tap into Avon’s 6.4 million active sales representatives globally. On April 9, Avon’s board names 30-year Johnson & Johnson veteran Sherilyn McCoy as its new chief. With McCoy now filling the void in Avon’s corner office, it could make the company a tougher, or more expensive, takeover target. One analyst puts $12 billion as a price that might turn Avon’s head. Feb. 23–26 Musical Designers: Raf Simons leaves after seven years at the creative helm of Jil Sander, and Stefano Pilati departs from Yves Saint Laurent. Rumors would soon start swirling that Leonard designer Maxime Simoens was also on the way out. The Upshot: The news the fashion world has been anticipating for more than a year: Christian Dior names Raf Simons its next couturier—artistic director of haute couture, women’s ready-to-wear and accessories collections, to be exact—and says he will unveil his first Dior collection for the couture in July. Sander, meanwhile, returns to her namesake house—for the third time—and Slimane heads back to the maison of YSL, where he was hired early in his career as an assistant in fashion marketing. In other designer departures, Tod’s says Derek Lam will exit when his contract is up in September, and just before press time, Leonard confirms that Simoens is gone after just one season. March 7 Marni Mania: Throngs begin lining up all around the world at H&M stores for the fast-fashion chain’s one-off Marni collection. From London, Milan and Paris to New York, Seoul and Shanghai, thousands of devotees gobble up the colorful collection. In London, the collection sells out within a day, while in New York the initial supply sells out in 18 minutes. It’s a hit in Seoul, but causes less of a frenzy in Shanghai. The Upshot: Hennes & Mauritz reveals in late March that it plans to launch a chain of stores in 2013 to broaden its offering, as well as the range of its H&M stores with new concepts and product categories—including a luxe brand that will be more expensive than its high-end COS brand.
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye