Bluestar Alliance is pumping up its apparel portfolio with the acquisition of junior brand Hot Kiss.
Bluestar, which also owns Liz Lange and Harvé Benard, acquired a majority stake in the $100 million Hot Kiss Inc. for an estimated $20 million from founder Moshe Tsabag, who will stay on as director of marketing and merchandising. The design and sales staff also will stay on, according to the company.
"Moshe has a merchandising eye unlike anyone in the market," said Bluestar chief executive officer Joey Gabbay. "With money behind him, Hot Kiss can really take off."
Bluestar predicts Hot Kiss — which sells at retailers including Nordstrom, Macy's, Wet Seal and Dillard's — can grow to a $500 million brand in three years. Bluestar's plan includes expanding Hot Kiss' licensing business, tripling its marketing budget to about $3 million and expanding with international retail stores. The first Hot Kiss store is slated to open in May in Japan, where Bluestar plans to open 20 more stores by the end of 2009. Domestically, there are plans to open a New York and a Los Angeles store by the end of this year.
"It's one of those rare brands that has been kept clean since the inception 12 years ago," said Bluestar chief operating officer Ralph Gindi. "Now we can take it to the next level."
Founded a year and a half ago by Gabbay and Gindi, Bluestar has grown into a $500 million apparel conglomerate. It acquired maternity brand Liz Lange in November for an estimated $50 million, following the purchase of men's brand Ron Chereskin in September, and Harvé Benard in September 2006. Next on the company's wish list is a luxury brand by the end of the year.
“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