Alice + Olivia has a new foreign backer who’s suddenly keen on the American fashion space.Sources said SK Holdings — one of the largest conglomerates in South Korea — recently took a minority stake in the company, which was founded in 2002 by Stacey Bendet and has been on and off the market in recent years.Neither Alice + Olivia nor SK responded to requests for comment Tuesday.The brand, which touts itself as juxtaposing whimsical and flirty with sexy and sophisticated, has a host of celebrity fans, including Gwyneth Paltrow and former First Lady Michelle Obama, and is sold through its web site, 35 boutiques and more than 800 wholesale accounts.Shortly after Bendet founded the company, she linked with Andrew Rosen, Theory chief executive officer and serial investor, who took a stake in the business. Bendet leads the brand as ceo and creative director.It is not clear how much of Alice + Olivia traded hands and whether Bendet or Rosen or both sold and at what price, but financial sources said the company explored numerous options while it was on the market.While sources in the market said the brand had a tough start to the year — a rough stretch in general for fashion, when retailers were shuttering doors and brands of all stripes struggled to engage consumers — other sources said its sales are ahead for 2017.Alice + Olivia has clearly been busy lately with plenty of growth initiatives. The brand teamed with Camuto Group for footwear in August, created a limited-edition capsule collection with The Beatles in October and launched a new denim brand AO.LA last month.Asked about the inspiration behind the denim launch, Bendet said: “I’ve always designed with the goal of dressing a woman for all aspects of her life. AO.LA began as a concept, my sort of West Coast alter ego, the casual weekend cool, the dressed up jean. The inspiration image for the collection was a picture of my mom in her wedding gown with a pair of big bell bottom jeans underneath. It resonated with me. Jeans are so much a part of a woman’s life, her memories, her life stories...and that’s what I set out to do with AO.LA., create jeans that make a woman feel empowered and good, jeans that tell a story.”Now the brand is part of the emerging story at SK.The South Korean giant has been testing the waters in fashion for some time, but appears to have only started making deals in North America this year.SK invested alongside the Lee Equity-backed InterLuxe in Canadian outerwear brand Mackage in the spring, according to sources. WWD first to report that InterLuxe took a stake in Mackage, but SK’s investment is only now coming to light.The two brands don’t have an obvious strategic fit, but rather seem to show a general interest in adding fashion to the company’s already broad portfolio. SK also has interests in information and communication technologies, shipping, storage, power generation, drugs that impact the central nervous system and semiconductor materials.
EXCLUSIVE: Two and half months after John Targon, cofounder and codesigner of Baja East, was hired as creative director of the contemporary division at Marc Jacobs, he has left the company, WWD has learned. Marc Jacobs International, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, confirmed Targon’s departure in a statement: “John Targon is a talented designer and we appreciate the work he has done here. Ultimately working together did not make sense for the brand and we wish him the best.” Read the story by @jessiredale, link in bio. #wwdnews
@theluxurycollection is officially launching a collection, tapping Sofia Sanchez de Betak for the capsule. Over 30 styles will be featured in the Chufy x The Luxury Collection, debuting next month at Bergdorf Goodman, The Webster, FiveStory and more. De Betak, known as “@chufy,” drew inspiration for the collection from her trips to Japan in the past year #wwdfashion
@lhd, founder and CEO of @thewebster, has teamed up with @lebonmarcherivegauche for the European launch of her ready-to-wear line, LHD. The launch will come with an exclusive pop-up opening today that’s set to run through May 20. Located on the second floor, it carries her debut Miami-themed resort collection, launched in November as see-now-buy-now. #wwdfashion
@longchamp, which marks its 70th anniversary this year, just opened its biggest U.S. store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. On the lower level there’s a floor-to-ceiling display of the brand’s iconic Le Pliage bag – in all of its different colors, shapes and sizes. Customers can also have their product personalized in-store by imprinting names, initials or emblems. #wwdfashion (📷: @ericmtownsend)
“Whenever I’m in that place of sound and music, I don’t have fear or nervousness…This album has a lot of themes of courage and boldness and I want to be the soundtrack for people’s lives. I’ll be so happy if [my songs] evoke strength in people, which I know music has done for me,” says @kimbramusic of her newest album “Primal Heart.” The New Zealand-born singer sat down with WWD to talk about her music, newest tour and connecting with hear fans — read more on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
Luxury handbag resale company @rebagofficial is planning to sell a rare collectible for $70,000: the @hermes White Crocodile Himalayan Birkin. The exclusive Birkin sold for about $100,000 in 2008, when @davidbeckham bought one for his wife @victoriabeckham to add to her collection. Read more about the rare Birkin on WWD.com #wwdaccessories
With her costume pearl necklace and what-you-see-is-what-you-get style, Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday at age 92, was a straight-shooter from start to finish.
Born Barbara Pierce in New York City, Bush served as the 37th first lady, as well as the country’s second lady from 1981 to 1989. In addition to being part of the longest presidential marriage — 73 years — Bush also had the unlikely distinction of having one son, George W., become the 43rd president and another son, Jeb, run unsuccessfully in 2016. Having served as second lady during the Reagan administration’s two terms and lived all over the world during her own husband’s ascending political career, Barbara Bush made it clear that literacy — not fashion — was her priority. Read more from Rosemary Feitelberg’s obituary on the late First Lady in WWD.com, link in bio. #barbarabush #wwdnews
Western and ’90s trends have influenced denim for fall 2018. Think raw, dark and coated jeans mixed with bold prints and tough leather. #trendtuesdays #wwdfashion (Styled by @thealexbadia;📷: @ryanplett)