MUNICH — Warming weather and a darkening economic climate underscored Quiksilver Inc.'s decision to off-load French ski apparel and equipment firm Rossignol.
"Winter 2006 was the worst winter in history. Combined with tough economic times, we were forced to find ways to reduce our debt," Quiksilver president Bernard Mariette told WWD here Monday at the International Trade Fair for Sports Equipment and Fashion, also known as ISPO.
"We were getting a lot of pressure from the shareholders to sell Rossignol. What we thought we could do in three years would ultimately take five years to accomplish," Mariette said of the decision to sell. "Due to the economic and environmental climate, five years is too long to wait. We need immediate results, which is why we have decided to sell the company."
Quiksilver purchased Rossignol in 2005 for $320 million in cash and stock.
Mariette declined to comment on the value of Rossignol, but noted that potential suitors have already been in touch. He estimated a deal would be struck in the next six to nine months.
Over the past two years, Rossignol reduced its annual ski production from 1.6 million skis to 1 million in 2007. It also trimmed its factory and warehouse operation to focus on building the brand's apparel business, which had been the next step in Quiksilver's plan to transform Rossignol into an outdoor sports lifestyle company.
Rossignol's fall 2008 selection of ski and outdoor looks for women, on show here, were already beginning to exhibit Quiksilver's trademark edgy take on sports apparel. A heritage 1907 line, designed for on and off the slopes, was garnering attention at the show, which will wind up its four-day run Wednesday.
"We still firmly believe in Rossignol. We have a clear vision for the brand," Mariette said.
In December, Quiksilver sold Cleveland Golf Co. Inc. for $132.5 million to Japan-based SRI Sports Ltd. A stake in Cleveland Golf was originally part of Quiksilver's acquisition of the Rossignol Group in July 2005. Speculation had been escalating in recent months that the Huntington, Calif.-based Quiksilver would continue to reduce its exposure to the hard goods manufacturing business, which continues to be its Achilles' heel.
“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
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast