NEW YORK — Industry executives celebrating the opening of Ermenegildo Zegna's new flagship at 663 Fifth Avenue Tuesday night needed little prompting, even with Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen in attendance, to talk about pocketbook issues.
"Everybody's trying to figure out what to do about the economy," said Allen Questrom, now a senior adviser to Lee Equity Partners. "It's going to [be] a little longer term than people think."
Retailers, he said, are going to have to keep their heads. "It's a matter of patience and not overreacting."
Beyond the glass staircase and models wearing black tie, Ron Frasch, president and chief merchandising officer of Saks Fifth Avenue, noted, "It's challenging, we all know."
The economy has put the brakes on more than consumer spending — deal-making for fashion brands has also slowed as bankers and buyers alike take a cautious stance. Frasch, in response to a question, said he was "advising a friend" who was looking into starting a blank check company that would raise funds specifically to make an acquisition.
"This thing started before the economy [worsened]," he said. "We're proceeding slowly."
But the economic freeze will thaw eventually and deal-making will resume. When it does, Domenico De Sole, the business partner of Tom Ford (whose collection is produced by Zegna), said sovereign wealth funds, large pools of money controlled by governments, would be even bigger players in the luxury market.
"The reality is there's a huge amount of money in those funds," he said. "You'll see more and more." In part, he said it's just a matter of who has the capital and who can use it. Luxury also is an attractive investment in its own right. "It's a great industry with very high margins," he said.
And so it is with Tom Ford. De Sole said the Tom Ford store on Madison Avenue is doing twice as well as expected. "The business is doing so well that we're overjoyed," he said.
Assouline is paying homage to the late Azzedine Alaïa with a reprint of "Alaïa Livre de Collection.” The book is comprised of photographs of the designer's summer 1992 runway show with models Christy Turlington Burns, Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks, pictured here at right. #wwdfashion #alaia #tyrabanks
Fall 2018 accessories take on a painterly hue, with Nebulas Blue among Pantone’s top 10 colors of the season. (📸: @jonghyupstudio ; editor: @twallz21 ; stylist and set designer: @haideefindlaylevin ) #wwdaccessories
@americanapparelusa is relaunching the brand outside of the U.S. today, opening its online store to more than 200 countries. The company is also contemplating a return to brick-and-mortar, though details have not been confirmed. In tandem with the expanded distribution is a recasting of a social media ad campagn, called “Back to Basics,” pictured here, with a focus on diversity and a cast of models above the age of 21. Read more on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Exclusive: @britneyspears is continuing to expand her brand. The pop icon, who appears in @kenzo ’s latest campaign, is partnering with Epic Rights to launch a line of branded merchandise. Read @hernameislex ‘s story, link in bio. #wwdnews #britneyspears
The Duchess of Cambridge channeled Princess Diana’s look upon giving birth to Prince Harry, when she and the Duke of Cambridge departed the hospital with the new baby Prince this afternoon in London. #wwdeye #princeofcambridge
The new Prince of Cambridge has arrived! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge posed with the 8-pound newborn. She wore a look from one of her go-to designers, @jennypackham. Tap link in bio for more. #wwdeye #princeofcambridge
Jewelry label @alisonlou has made a name for itself with fine jewelry that speaks to the Millennial market. Now @twallz21 reports that the label is bringing those playful ideas to a new affordable line of lucite hoops with the launch of Loucite by Alison Lou. Here’s a look from the line modeled by @emrata. #wwdaccessories
@sarahjessicaparker and @gilt are teaming up on a bridal ready-to-wear line. Tomorrow, Parker will launch SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Bridal — and as part of the launch, Gilt will offer 15 exclusive styles from the SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker footwear collection that were designed to complement the new line. Made out of 10 styles, the line is designed for a variety of occasions, from bridal showers to receptions. Get more details on WWD.com #wwdfashion