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 yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@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