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."
“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)
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews