PARIS — Vilebrequin, the Saint Tropez-based swim trunks company, has changed hands.
Fashion Fund One, a private equity fund based in the Netherlands, on Thursday said it acquired 100 percent of TRB International SA, the Luxembourg-based holding company that owns worldwide rights to the brand, from its owner, Pierre-Alain Blum. Terms were not disclosed.
It is Fashion Fund One's second transaction since a group of former executives from the Mexx fast-fashion chain founded it last year. (Liz Claiborne Inc., which now owns Mexx, is not involved in the fund.)
Last year, Fashion Fund One purchased Secon Group, an Amsterdam company that runs men's and women's brands, including Arrow and Anotherwoman, in Europe.
Hans Ouwendijk, managing director of the fund, said other deals were being pursued. He declined to give details. But he said the firm was interested in building a portfolio of small to midsize fashion companies based in Europe. "We are interested in smaller brands that we can help export to different parts of Europe and internationally," he explained.
Vilebrequin, arguably France's most popular swimsuit brand, operates 67 stores and is sold in department and specialty stores in 16 countries.
"The company is doing very well and has nice double-digit increases every year," said Ouwendijk. "We want to put more fuel in the tank."
Ouwendijk said more own stores would be opened and an effort would be made to increase Vilebrequin's wholesale accounts. He said Blum would remain a non-executive member of the company's board.
Vilebrequin was founded in the Seventies in Saint-Tropez and quickly earned cult status among men for its bright patterned trucks that are a riff on classic surfing shorts. In the Nineties, the company expanded by launching men's ready-to-wear and accessories. It also creates swim trunks for children.
Ouwendijk said there were no plans to expand Vilebrequin into women's wear.
Mexx founders Rattan Chada and Adu Advaney both are involved in Fashion Fund One. Chada also owns a golf course in the south of France and is developing a low-cost hotel concept.
In honor the @CFDA’s announcement of @iamnaomicampbell receiving the Fashion Icon Award at the 2018 #CFDAAwards, which will take place on June 4, here’s a #tbt of the supermodel on @michaelkors’ runway in 1991. #wwdfashion #wwdarchive (📷: George Chinsee)
“I was making the guacamole when my scout saw me,” says model @stuckinteenage on being discovered just six months ago while working at @chipotlemexicangrill. Since then Williams has signed with @dnamodels, walked in her first show at @calvinklein and landed on the cover of @vogueitalia – a high point of any model’s career. To read @lisajlockwood’s full interview with the model on her experiences thus far, head to WWD.com – link in bio. (📷: George Chinsee)
“I love the idea of dialogue, period. It’s where I’ve always gotten my inspiration from: hearing other women speak, their journeys and their paths,” said @hereisgina, who delivered the keynote speech during @sxsw for @createcultivate in partnership with @fossil. For her two panels, Rodriguez chose female empowering, female-led and female entrepreneurs to focus on. Head to WWD.com to read more about her thoughts on Time’s Up, growing up in a family of women and why we “need a girls’ club.” #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.