Lacoste USA has recruited former Kellwood Co. chief Robert C. Skinner Jr. as its new chairman and chief executive officer, confirming a WWD report this week.
Skinner, 54, will replace Robert Siegel, 71, who is retiring at the end of the year, after seven years at Lacoste.
Siegel served with Skinner on Kellwood’s board from October 2007 until February 2008, when Sun Capital Partners Inc. took over the long-suffering Chesterfield, Mo.-based vendor. The private equity firm replaced Skinner in July with Michael Kramer, former Abercrombie & Fitch Co. chief financial officer and executive vice president.
“I saw Bob under extremely difficult conditions, and I thought he was very mature and objective,” Siegel said. “There were some really challenged brands in that company, and I think Bob will love working with one great brand instead of many brands.”
As corporate group vice president of Oxford Industries Inc. from 1998 to 2000 and president of its Oxford Shirt Group from 1987 until 2000, when he joined Kellwood, Skinner has men’s wear experience that will cater well to Lacoste, which does about two-thirds of its U.S. business in men’s. But Kellwood also gave Skinner the women’s experience that he thinks could help Lacoste grow its women’s business to be equal to men’s.
“In total, the women’s market is twice the size of the men’s market, and I think we could grow women’s to be as much as men’s,” said Skinner Wednesday.
At about $320 million, Lacoste USA is a far smaller business than the $2 billion Kellwood. But with the 75-year-old Lacoste, Skinner gets a far healthier company than his previous stomping ground. While at Kellwood, Skinner’s goal was to shift the predominantly moderate firm into more high-end, higher-margin businesses and into retail, but acquisitions like Vince weren’t enough to turn the company around before it was taken over in February.
“I think of myself as a brand builder,” said Skinner.
Siegel drove expansion in his six years at Lacoste, growing it more than tenfold from the less than $30 million wholesale business he inherited in January 2002. By 2009, Lacoste USA will have 70 boutiques and 14 outlets.
Based in New York, Skinner will report to Christian Rondelet, managing director of distribution for Devanlay SA, the Paris-based holder of the worldwide manufacturing and distribution license for Lacoste apparel, which is owned by the Swiss retailer Maus Frères International Services S.A.S. Maus Frères through Devanlay also owns 35 percent of Lacoste SA, with 65 percent owned by the Lacoste family.
Siegel will become a non-executive member of Devanlay USA’s board, in addition to his board roles for Edun, Bono and Ali Hewson’s brand, and the pet company Harry Barker Inc.
Before Lacoste, Siegel was managing director at Kurt Salmon Associates Inc., chairman and ceo at Stride Rite Corp. and ceo of Levi Strauss & Co., where he launched Dockers in 1986.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews