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.”
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion
“I’m Russian and I love to use all these little tricks that I got from my grandma or my mom. We didn’t have a lot of money for creams or anything like that so we would use a garden as a beauty treatment regime. We’d put cucumber in the fridge and do a cucumber mask,” says model @irinashayk on one of her beauty hacks. WWD asked celebs what their go-to self-care rituals are. See what Naomie Harris, Freida Pinto and more said on WWD.com. #wwdeye #wwdbeauty (📷: @zefashioninsider)
Exclusive: @viktorandrolf are teaming up with @Zalando on a collection made from leftover clothing. The lineup, which lands at the retailer February 1, includes 17 pieces adorned with sliced up and repurposed overstock from the retailer’s private label collection. Pictured here is a look from the collection –– see more on WWD.com. #wwdfashion #wwdnews
@duewestnyc is the newest bar joining the collection of intimate neighborhood-focused spaces in the West Village. The cocktail menu, which includes bitters and syrups made in-house, offers a “Build Your Own Old-Fashioned” – like the one pictured here – where guests can choose from a list of spirits and unexpected sugars and bitters. #wwdeye
Spotted at last night’s National Board of Review gala in NYC: Angelina Jolie. Jolie – along with Meryl Streep, @lupitanyongo and more – continued the all-black dress code from Sunday’s Golden Globes. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)