NEW YORK — When he was president and chief merchandising officer of Duty Free Stores Group in the mid-Eighties, Fred Wilson would take his cup of coffee and walk around the office every morning greeting the troops. As Saks Fifth Avenue Enterprises' chairman and chief executive officer, he displayed the same engaging qualities.
"He's a personal dynamo," said Bud Konheim, president and ceo of Nicole Miller. "He likes action. He returns a phone call within an hour, even if he's in Timbuktu."
But while Wilson was well liked in the industry, Saks seemed adrift under his watch. During his tenure, Saks Fifth Avenue has been hit by scandal. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan are investigating the store's excessive allowances for markdowns. In addition, financial results have been disappointing.
"Wilson was always open to hear what you've got to say," said one manufacturer, adding that he improved presentation in stores. "Before Fred started, the floors looked crammed and disorganized. After he took over, the floors looked better because they cut down on the vendors."
Wilson has a long résumé. Before joining Saks Fifth Avenue Enterprises, he was chairman, president, and ceo of Donna Karan International. Wilson also held the post of ceo for the specialty store retail division of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and was ceo of LVMH Fashion Group for the Americas. His 17 years at Duty Free Stores included stints in Guam and Hong Kong.
Friends said Wilson has spoken of retiring for some time and the wish to spend more time with his four children and one grandchild. Three of his children live in California and he and his wife own a home there.
"I worked with Fred for many years at DFS Group," said Kirk Martin, executive vice president. "He is a very inspirational leader. He instills great loyalty in people who work for him. He is very energetic and has good vision on where to take a company and a business. I was a little surprised that he's leaving Saks. He's not a guy that gets frustrated."
“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)