MONTE CARLO — Diego Della Valle, chairman and chief executive officer of Tod’s SpA, insists his 6 percent holding in Saks Inc. is a family investment, and declined to comment whether he plans to increase his stake in the department store group.
In an interview on the sidelines of the FT Business of Luxury conference here, Della Valle also said he doesn’t plan to revive Schiaparelli, the long-dormant Parisian fashion house, before 2011, but remains optimistic about a recovery for luxury markets in the near term.
Della Valle created a stir in the industry last month when it emerged he had increased his holding in Saks to 5.9 percent between Feb. 20 and May 7, for a total consideration of $30.3 million.
“I believe it’s a great U.S. brand, and I have personally known their management for many years,” he said. Although Tod’s operates stand-alone stores in the U.S., its signature loafers and handbags are also on sale at Saks.
Della Valle, who in addition to running Tod’s sits on the board of French luxury group LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and owns Italy’s Fiorentina soccer club, is the latest entrepreneur to take an interest in Saks, which has been the subject of takeover speculation. Mexican telecoms and retailer magnate Carlos Slim Helú is Saks’ largest shareholder, with an 18.6 percent holding. Della Valle said he plans to meet him “as soon as practical.”
Like other retailers in the U.S., Saks has been hard hit by the downturn in luxury spending in the country. However, Della Valle said he remains optimistic U.S. consumers will soon reacquire a taste for shopping.
“After the summer break, there are likely to be signals that people will be inclined to get out and buy something,” he said, although he cautioned these moves won’t immediately translate into a significant sales improvement for the luxury goods industry.
“Around Christmas, we will start to see — if not in the numbers, at least in the prevailing mood — a consumer that is overcoming the crisis,” Della Valle added, noting Tod’s foresees the conditions to increase its profitability once markets begin to show an improvement. He declined to quantify the extent of the increase.
In addition to Tod’s, Della Valle’s company sells apparel, accessories and luxury shoes under the Hogan, Fay and Roger Vivier brands. His family also acquired the rights in 2007 to couture house Schiaparelli, which has been closed since 1954.
As a Schiaparelli revival isn’t imminent, no designer has yet been chosen for the task. “This is not the right time, there’s too much to do at Tod’s,” he said, adding that at the moment, the company is focusing on luxury shoe brand Roger Vivier. “I hope that markets will have stabilized when we are ready for Schiaparelli.”
"'Dynasty' is all about gowns, the diamonds and the scandal, so it's a bit like the fashion industry. When we come to Cannes it's all about the red carpet dresses too, so it all fit really well," said designer @philippplein78 on the theme of his high-glamour resort 2019 show at his mansion in Cannes. #wwdfashion #cannes (📷: @zefashioninsider)
"I think Spike is such a brilliant director because he holds up a mirror to society and reflects these issues, yet he doesn't shove it down your throat, he doesn't tell you what to think," says @lauraharrier on her latest film @Blackkklansman. Harrier was at the Cannes Film Festival – for the very first time – with @officialspikelee. #wwdeye #cannes (📷: @zefashioninsider)
“I would think to myself, Are you happy? Yes, I’m wildly happy. I go to this studio every day and, in my inside voices, I’m giggling; I’m singing. Yes, it’s a lot of work, it’s a [huge] volume of material. It wouldn’t be for everybody. But I was very happy,” said soap opera star @therealsusanlucci of checking in throughout the years with her career trajectory. Lucci spoke to WWD about her decades-long career, love for pilates, motherhood and her QVC activewear line. Read Bridget Foley’s full piece on Lucci on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: @celestesloman)
@balmain has taken a stand at the #cannes Film Festival, dressing 16 actresses at a press call for the project “Noire N’est Pas Mon Metier,” or “Black Is Not My Profession.” The multimedia project includes a book, photo exhibit and documentary, which aims to expose discrimination in the French and American entertainment industries. “The moment I was asked to participate, I knew it was right for me, and for this brand, to form a part of this moment,” Balmain creative director @olivier_rousteing told WWD. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
"I always feel curious and I feel like there's more to learn. But I think being relevant, feeling relevant, I personally always feel that there's just so much more to know. And maybe that's the key.” — @themarcjacobs #wwdsummits #wwdbeauty (📷: @patrickmacleodphoto )
“The most amazing thing about her is that, regardless of all the things that have happened to her, her spirit is so undaunted by all of it. She is the most cheerful person you will ever meet. She doesn’t see problems, she only sees solutions,” said @ajanaomi_king of activist Ifrah Ahmed, who she plays in a new film “A Girl from Mogadishu.” WWD caught up with King at Cannes — Head to WWD.com to read more about her new role, personal style and how she uses social media for causes like Time’s Up and Black Lives Matter #wwdeye
WWD asked a number designers to share their thoughts on what Meghan Markle’s wedding gown will look like this Saturday. Here, Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli sketches his look. #wwdfashion #royalwedding #meghanmarkle