The Mitchells, Connecticut’s first family of retailing, held a hug fest with their suppliers Thursday night to celebrate 50 years in business.
“See, we even hug our bankers,” said Jack Mitchell, chairman and chief executive officer, as he embraced one of the money men at the entrance of the Valbella restaurant in Greenwich, where 160 fashion executives who supply the Mitchells stores gathered.
“Besides doing business together, we play golf, we drink together, we scream at each other and it’s wonderful,” said Bill Mitchell, vice chairman, describing the business relationships that the family maintains. “And that’s what makes it easier to resolve issues.”
In negotiations, “I may walk away not getting what I want; I never walk away saying I got screwed,” said Robert Ackerman, president and ceo of Ermenegildo Zegna Corp. in North America.
“Mitchells owns the market,” said Vincent Ottomanelli, president of Ferragamo USA. “Everyone shops the store.”
Among the other fashion executives at the party were Giorgio Canali, Amedeo Scognamiglio and Roberto Menella of Faraone Mennella, Charles Jayson of Judith Ripka, Guglielmo Melegari of Pomellato USA, Herbert Spiegel of Randa Accessories, Anders Hjarne of Eton, Adam Heyman of Oscar Heyman & Brothers, Pier Guerci of Loro Piana USA, and Sandra Seroy of Brioni.
The event started with cocktails and wine, then a video chronicling the three generations of Mitchells who nurtured the business. It was started by the late Ed Mitchell in a former plumbing store selling a handful of moderate-priced suits. He passed the reins to his sons and grandsons, who have grown the business through the decades to now include the Mitchells and Richards luxury emporiums in Westport and Greenwich, respectively, Marshs in Huntington, N.Y., another luxury fashion store, and a growing chain of Vineyard Vines shops.The stores are all known for their service, customer loyalty and quality goods.
The evening was filled with well-wishes and plenty of recollections. Joe Cox, a Mitchells team leader, recalled one of his most memorable days on the job. The Mitchells staffers tend to be very discreet about who their customers are — some of the top executives in the world — but Cox couldn’t resist talking about when former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife, Cheri, shopped Mitchells. “There was a long receiving line, as the prime minister walked in, all I could think of was 42 long,” Cox said. He had it right. Blair left with a Brioni suit and some shirts and ties, and his wife shopped for two hours.
“This night is really about one thing — thank you, thank you, thank you,” said Bob Mitchell, co-president.
There will be more gratitude expressed Friday, when the Mitchells host a charity fund-raising gala at the store in Westport, featuring a performance by Sheryl Crow.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast