According to financial and market sources, Vince Camuto has been busy on two fronts: expanding the firm’s business operations while at the same time working with Goldman Sachs, whether for a buyer, investor or exploring financing options.
Jeff Howald, chief financial officer of Camuto Group, said Tuesday, “I can definitively tell you we are not selling the company either in whole or any part of it.” A spokesman for Goldman declined comment.
But financial sources said Goldman was hired a few months ago and there have been pitches made to prospective buyers and/or investors. One source said Camuto Group is a “good fit” for a private equity firm, which could help the company build on the expansion initiatives Vince Camuto has been working on. Another source in the banking world said the plan is for Camuto, who is both chief executive officer and chief creative officer, to stay on at the company for a few more years, and then have his wife, Louise, take over the running of the operation. Louise Camuto is president of marketing for the Camuto Group, as well as creative director of the Vince Camuto brand.
Sources said this isn’t the first time Camuto has eyed a possible sale of part or all of the company — more like the third time. Three years ago, the company was working with a division of The Rothschild Group trying to find a buyer and/or investor, they said. That didn’t pan out, and 18 months ago, feelers were put out again. Late last year, Goldman was in talks with Camuto about the possibility of a sale or investor and supposedly has been pitching different financing options to Camuto.
“Maybe the third time is the charm,” said a banker who works in the space.
One concern among dealmakers is succession planning. A would-be buyer or investor would have to figure out how the company can replicate the energy and expertise that Vince Camuto brings to the business.
Privately held firms such as Camuto Group, especially when on the upswing, are often rumored as being eyed by bankers or private equity players. Banking firms like Goldman regularly pitch firms like Camuto Group about going into the market to see if they can find an investor — that’s how the banks generate business.
“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