MILAN — Italy’s tax authorities are accusing Belgian designer Dirk Bikkembergs of evading tax payments of 111 million euros, or $139.6 million at current exchange rates.
Bikkembergs’ lawyer, Francesco Giuliani, told WWD the allegations stem from an audit carried out in 2006 and 2007 by the Guardia di Finanza, an Italian police force under the authority of the Minister of Economy and Finance that investigates tax evasions and related violations.
The inquiry is focusing on two companies, 22 Srl, which produces clothing in Italy for Bikkembergs’ brand, and Luxembourg-based IFF Sarl, which distributes the brand’s products. The police and prosecutors allege that the designer’s organization is in Italy, but that revenues are redirected to Luxembourg instead of being declared and taxed in Italy.
Giuliani said Bikkembergs is contesting the charges. “We will ask for a suspension of the verdict,” he said, referring to the accusations. “Our position is that the authorities have not taken into account the real situation: IFF does not have a structured organization in Italy, and they [the tax authorities] did not correctly calculate the turnover of IFF, as they did not take into account the company’s costs.”
Giuliani said there were “glaring” mistakes in the data, although the fiscal commission in Pesaro, Italy, has so far rejected the designer’s efforts to refute the allegations.
Bikkembergs’ collections are produced in Fano, in central Italy, either directly or indirectly. “Bikkembergs is very keen to preserve production in Italy,” said Giuliani, who hopes the company will be cleared within a year or two. “We feel we are in the right.”
Bikkembergs was one of the Antwerp Six, an influential group of designers from Antwerp, Belgium’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts that included Ann Demeulemeester and Dries Van Noten, among others. Bikkembergs moved on from the academy to start his career with a footwear collection in 1986. His men’s line was launched in 1988, followed in 1993 by a women’s collection. Since the spring 1989 season, the designer has worked only with Italian manufacturers. He is known for his soccer-inspired sportswear designs.
The company did not provide financial or retail information.
@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)
Breaking News: @hedislimane joins @celine as its new artistic, creative and image director. One of fashion’s preeminent image-makers and trendsetters, Slimane is to join the LVMH brand on Feb. 1 and unveil his first fashion proposition for men and women next September during Paris Fashion Week. It marks a major homecoming for Slimane, who cemented his reputation – and influenced men’s tailoring for more than a decade – as the designer of Dior Homme between 2000 and 2007. He went on to reinvent and ignite the house of Yves Saint Laurent, which he rechristened Saint Laurent, between 2012 and 2016 – all the while maintaining a close relationship with the Arnault family, which controls LVMH and Dior. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
“Personally I believe the Eighties have been the richest and more vivacious period for international fashion,” Giorgio Armani said when asked what his favorite decade of fashion is. It was a moment of disruption and experimentation and only thinking back to the first years of that decade is always an emotion for me, for what they have meant to me and my work.” The influence is clear in @giorgioarmani spring 2018 collection, pictured here, which was full of bright colors and unexpected prints. Read more about which decades designers loved most on WWD.com #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
For Lady Gaga’s only Italian show on her “Joanne World Tour,” the singer wore a range of @versace_official outfits. The standout piece: this custom-made bodysuit inspired by the brand’s spring 2018 collection. #wwdfashion (RG: @ladygaga)
@_camillaruth_ is expanding on the wellness-craze concept with @westbourne – a new NYC restaurant that’s both a healthy-minded café as well as a business that gives back to the community. Marcus works with the Robin Hood foundation to give back to The Door, a non-profit providing youth development services, and also hires employees through The Door. Read our full interview with Marcus on giving back through food on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)