When Richard Baker, the chairman and chief executive officer of Hudson’s Bay Co., began the process of buying Saks Fifth Avenue last spring, he had all the financial and due diligence help he could use. Understanding the heart and soul of Saks was another matter.
That’s where Jaqui Lividini, a former Saks fashion merchandising and communications executive and already a close adviser to Baker with his Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay department store holdings, entered the picture. “He needed someone to help with the brand vision, what direction the brand should take, and what I saw as the opportunities for Saks — where its place was in the competitive landscape,” said Lividini. Six weeks later, well before the deal was done, Lividini & Co. handed Baker a 50-page report painting a portrait of Saks and its potential.
These days, Lividini, who parlayed two decades of working at Saks into a branding and communications firm stacked with former Saks staffers, is as industry-embedded as ever with L&Co. It’s evident from the roster of clients and projects involving S.W.O.T. (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis, brand distribution and growth strategies, retail strategies, sharpening brand identities, media planning, public relations and, as with Baker, c-level consulting.
In her latest maneuver, she’s hired Sunny Diego, another Saks expatriate, as chief merchant to run a new merchandising practice at L&Co. Diego was chief merchant, senior vice president of merchandising at Li & Fung’s men’s division, and earlier was a Saks vice president and divisional merchandising manager for men’s private brands. She spent 18 years at Saks in buying and fashion director roles on both the women’s and men’s sides.
“Our new merchandising practice is something I’ve been thinking about for some time,” Lividini said. “I couldn’t personally focus on it at a deeper level because our core business was expanding so rapidly. My idea of a 360-degree approach to brands couldn’t be realized without this.”
Diego’s skill set, Lividini said, enables L&Co. “to build brands from the ground up — everything from sku [stockkeeping unit] plans to building collection plans that meet financial goals and working with design and sales to execute a strategy.’’
With the new practice, L&Co. adopts “a more holistic approach to brands. We were a strategic brand communications firm. Now we’ve evolved into a brand engagement firm,” said Lividini.
With fine jewelry designer Monica Rich Kosann, the challenge was to expand her collection, refine its brand messaging and strengthen retail accounts. The profile was limited so L&Co. positioned Rich Kosann as an emerging jewelry talent. L&Co. worked with the designer to develop seasonal collections, a more accessible line of silver, press previews, look books and improve the Web site to reach more retailers and consumers.
With Planet London, a widely-known brand in Europe owned by Jacques Vert, the challenge was to take it to the U.S. where it was virtually unknown. L&Co. did an analysis of the outerwear market with trend data, price modeling, competitive overviews and a vendor analysis of American retailers being targeted. “Sunny worked out of the brand’s London headquarters with Planet London’s design and merchandising teams to evaluate the styling of the collection, edit the presentation and collaborate with the design team to assure that the silhouettes and details were relevant for the U.S. consumer,” Lividini said. As a new vendor to U.S. retailers, “Planet London’s styling and price point must offer something American retailers are currently not offering customers.” L&Co. is arranging Planet London’s first New York retailer and press preview.
Other clients include Fossil, Josie Natori, Scoop, Robert Graham, Urban Outfitters and Vince as well as HBC. Lividini said she’s keeping her company manageable, handling about 20 clients at a time.
She has two partners and managing directors: Lynette Harrison, who develops growth strategies and media planning, and Lori Rhodes, who directs brand experience, marketing, communications and retail strategies. Andrew Blecher, vice president, supervises corporate communications in addition to overseeing clients, while Lividini concentrates on the brand discovery and c-level consulting as she’s done with Baker. “Jaqui and her company have been involved with us since the very beginning, when we bought Lord & Taylor,” Baker said. “She helped us build a plan and understand the business and the market dynamics to be successful. With Hudson’s Bay, it’s been the same story.”
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)