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.
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)
@heriethpaul and @gracebol have a moment on the @victoriassecret fashion show 2017. See every look from the runway on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo) #wwdfashion #victoriassecret #VSFashionShow
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia