Consumer spending is steady. Corporate profits are up. And the stock market has rebounded. But home values are declining, fuel costs remain high, the Iraq war is raging and presidential politics are heating up.
On the fashion front, there's not a ton of innovation or newness, though retailers are encouraged by the popularity of dresses and dressing up, a return to Old Hollywood glamour with shoulder pads, suits, loose-fitting slacks and clutch bags and consumers' craving for shoes.
Against the backdrop of these forces, industry executives will offer their wisdom at the next WWD/DNR Apparel CEO Summit at Manhattan's St. Regis Hotel on Oct. 29 and 30, where the best of the best brainstorm, network and share ideas on how to improve business.
This year's summit has been organized around the theme of "reinvention" and has a dynamic roster of speakers.
The lineup includes Ralph Lauren, chairman and ceo of Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. The company is celebrating 40 years in business as it continues to gain momentum, expand globally and remain one of the most storied and successful brands in the world.
Providing a different perspective as a relative newcomer but already a fashion headliner, Tory Burch, creative director of Tory Burch LLC, will discuss how she's created a 21st-century designer brand by filling the void for sophisticated American aesthetic at accessible price points.
Mark Lee, ceo of Gucci, will outline how he's sustained the brand's growth. Gucci has had record performances in the past few years, in no small part because of Lee's leadership in strengthening Gucci's global retail network. More than 70 percent of worldwide revenues were derived from Gucci's 219 directly operated stores at the end of last year.
Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Company LLC, and one of Hollywood's most colorful executives, will talk about the deepening connection between fashion and entertainment, the increasing impact of celebrity on fashion and fashion consumers and his recent and surprising investment in Halston.
Jane T. Elfers, president and ceo of Lord & Taylor, will address the chain's life under new ownership, after long being regarded as another sluggish regional retailer with uncertain prospects. Among the key strategies that have helped turn the tide have been a concentrated upgrading of the merchandise mix with differentiated products and designer exclusives, and intensified marketing to recast the image.There also will be a well-known surprise guest speaker.
Shireen El Khatib, ceo of Al Tayer Insignia, will address the growth of luxury brands and retailing in the Middle East, where companies ranging from Saks Fifth Avenue to Harvey Nichols and Gap Inc. recently have expanded. Al Tayer has a distribution portfolio of 20 luxury fashion and jewelry brands, including Armani, Bulgari, Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci.
Other speakers are:
- Mackey J. McDonald, chairman and ceo of VF Corp., who will discuss how VF grew into a global leader in branded apparel with $6 billion in sales by acquiring lifestyle brands that resonate with consumers, including JanSport, Nautica, Vans, The North Face and Seven For All Mankind, while shedding its heritage intimates business.
- Rishad Tobaccowala, chief innovation officer of Publicis Groupe Media, ceo of Denuo and a marketing innovator, will discuss engaging consumers with new digital technologies.
- Mohan Murjani, chairman of the Murjani Group, will detail emerging opportunities in India and its rising consumer class, and recount his own career in creating lifestyle designer brands. He's launching a Galleria luxury mall concept in Mumbai.
- Stefani Greenfield, co-owner of Scoop NYC, who will elaborate on her "ultimate closet" concept for specialty retailing. Scoop is expanding to 14 stores, including its first international location in Mykonos, Greece, and with Scoop Style, an interactive show on Home Shopping Network.
- Andy Todd, president of Steve & Barry's, will discuss the reinvention of the chain and its democratization of fashion by partnering with Stephon Marbury, Sarah Jessica Parker, Amanda Bynes, "Big Ben" Wallace and Venus Williams.
For more information, contact Jennifer Macaluso at 212-630-4947 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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