MILAN — Just as La Perla workers are expected to gather for a protest in Bologna Monday over potential job cuts, the innerwear company issued a note to the press to outline its expansion plans and assure production will remain in Italy.
La Perla said it has initiated a turnaround process in order to develop and protect its future and to improve efficiencies with the aim of staying in Italy, “which will continue to have a central role both in planning and producing collections.”
Chief executive officer Tim Brasher has told unions that the brand’s owner, private equity fund JH Partners, has earmarked yearly investments of about 4 million to 5 million euros, or $5.2 million to $6.5 million at current exchange, with the goal of relaunching the brand globally. “La Perla is and intends to continue as a symbol of Made in Italy in the world,” said the company, explaining that, since 2008, JH Partners has invested about 50 million euros, or $64.9 million, and plans to continue supporting La Perla’s expansion. San Francisco-based JH Partners acquired full control of La Perla Group in October 2008, after taking a 70 percent stake in the company in July 2007.
Last month, JH Partners told WWD it had no intention of selling either La Perla or luxury home accessories, bedding and loungewear brand Frette Srl, which it also controls. However, JH Partners added that La Perla is open to a financial partnership, “considering for La Perla the opportunity to share with a financial partner the implementation of the medium-long term strategic plan to help accelerate the growth of the business,” said officials at the fund.
The plan, “already in an advanced stage, is based on three pillars,” including the positioning of La Perla “as a global luxury brand, internally developed in Bologna,” and in partnership with Italian suppliers. Distribution will increasingly be aimed at regions where luxury is growing the most, such as Asia, Russia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and top cities in the U.S. and Europe. La Perla opened five stores globally last year, but accelerated its retail distribution in 2012 with the unveiling of 24 units. The firm plans to open 26 units in 2013. In 2012, two distribution partnerships were inked in Japan and Korea, in addition to the strengthening of an existing one in China.
The second major priority for JH Partners is to launch the diffusion Studio La Perla label trough a single-brand network of boutiques with a new concept. The first two units will open between December and January in Italy. In the next three years, the owners plan to open 160 news sales points globally for La Perla and Studio La Perla.
The third item on the agenda is that the owners are aiming at reducing operating costs and gaining efficiency in all production sites and Brasher has presented a plan to the unions to this end. In 2012, the company will continue to report operating losses but management expects the bottom line to improve next year. La Perla is expected to close 2012 with a loss of 5 million euros, or $6.5 million. Last year, revenues totaled 113.2 million euros, or $157.3 million at average exchange.
As part of the reorganization of the group, La Perla has “opened an unemployment procedure for 309 people in Bologna,” said the firm. Of this figure, 230 are already under a government-funded leave. La Perla has a total of about 600 workers.
The firm’s management has “declared its availability to cooperate with unions to find the more suitable solutions to minimize the social impact,” concluded the company. A new series of meetings with the unions will kick off Monday.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)