It’s back to fundamentals as companies reset priorities and slash costs to cope with the recession.
“We were forced to make some really fast, very hard changes,” said Adam Lippes, chief executive officer and creative director of Adam.
Lippes was among the participants at a Fashion Group International “frontliners” forum last Wednesday on executive reinvention in the new business environment, hosted by the Karen Harvey consulting group.
Although Adam cut personnel and general overhead, and eliminated men’s wear from the collection, “We are doing better,” he said. “We have spent more time on the clothing and focused on the customer” while strengthening Adam’s image as a women’s brand. “It’s helped me to really sit down and focus my time.”
Others on the panel were Brendan Hoffman, president and chief executive officer of Lord & Taylor where the event was held; Jill Granoff, ceo of Kenneth Cole Productions, and Stephanie George, executive vice president of Time Inc. They outlined the central characteristics of the new environment, how their companies have changed and their views on talent.
“From a customer perspective, it’s all about value,” Granoff said. “In the past it was about desire. Now it’s about need.” At Kenneth Cole, “We used to focus on the P&L. Now it’s the balance sheet. It’s all about cash and inventory.”
Granoff emphasized that “the important thing is to communicate and inspire the team,” and said Kenneth Cole Productions holds quarterly town hall meetings after earnings calls, as well as staging roundtables and conducting brand surveys.
Hoffman said when he joined Lord & Taylor in October, after serving as ceo of Neiman Marcus Direct, “It was very clear we needed to focus on cash and the balance sheet. The first thing was getting the expense structure in line with the new reality. Twenty-five percent of the expenses were eliminated in about three months...Now we are able to start looking forward.”
He said he was proud to have restructured the management team using executives already on board. For those looking to succeed in the new business environment, “You better make yourself essential” to the company, Hoffman said. And for those leading the company, “You want to prioritize what’s going to move the needle and don’t try to get everything done. It’s really about working smarter.”
The top priority, George said, is “focusing on talent” and specifically “people interested in playing on the field, not sitting on the sidelines...You never want to lose that confidence. That’s the most important characteristic we have as business people. It’s clearly about being positive.”
George said change has been a constant in her nine years at Time Inc. “You have to look at your businesses continuously and adapt. You should be doing it all along. Usually, it’s not easy. It can be painful, but at the end of the day it builds talent.”
Citing the need for a team approach, Granoff said, “You can’t do it alone.” Granoff’s “A team” would be those that get results, don’t merely demonstrate they can put a lot of energy into efforts and activities, and those that have longevity with a company.
“In way or another, you have all gone back to your core,” Harvey said to the panel.
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)