Van Raemdonck joined from Louis Vuitton, where he was president, South Europe, based in Milan. In that role, he was responsible for the brand’s operations in 22 countries. Previously, he was acting president at Vuitton’s North American division. He also worked in senior positions at Limited Brands and The Boston Consulting Group.
“Geoffroy has an unparalleled understanding of global wholesale and retail that will be integral as we move into the next phase of the company’s history,” Beetz said. “He is an excellent leader to drive the executive team and to continue to strengthen and grow the business worldwide.”
Reached late on Monday, van Raemdonck said there are multiple reasons he was drawn to the brand.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity and a great team to join,” he noted. “The very interesting thing for me is the fact that it is such an iconic American brand. There are not many of those that have 50 years of heritage and such a strong brand anchor with its own craftsmanship around the American lifestyle.”
The hire comes at a significant time of change for St. John. In addition to Beetz, who officially became St. John chairman last week, Chinese company Fosun International invested in the American knitwear house, and potential for much growth is widely considered to come from the Asia region. Vestar Capital Partners continues to be the majority investor.
Beetz, the hard-charging executive who played an instrumental role in transforming Coty Inc. during his tenure at ceo and reviving the celebrity fragrance industry, is expected to “coach” van Raemdonck in his new role.
Beetz told WWD last week that St. John has “the potential of enormous global reach.”
He noted that between Vestar, Fosun and him, there are different skill sets that will serve the future of St. John well. “I know a little bit about branding; I know a little bit about organizational building,” Beetz said. “Fosun brings in knowledge about the Chinese market, and I will form a strong team and do the right thing to really advance a great brand.”
Van Raemdonck will work out of St. John’s New York and Irvine offices, though his main base will be here. The search for McMahon’s successor was conducted by Herbert Mines Associates, and among the new executive’s tasks is to expand the brand internationally and grow freestanding stores as well as new classifications. Beetz stressed that the brand’s heritage — going back to how Marie Gray founded it — will play a significant role in the St. John strategy.
“Bernd and I share the same view that we should give ourselves the time to really understand the fundamentals and go back to the brand DNA,” van Raemdonck said. “The first vision is threefold. One is to strengthen the brand and tell the story. It’s also expanding internationally, and into other categories. The order and steps to take are too early to say. The team has started some great things, and part of it is working and understanding what has been done, and taking it further.”
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)