Hiltons Eyeing Jourdan

There soon could be another Hilton in the fashion business - this time, mom Kathy.

PARIS — There soon could be another Hilton in the fashion business — this time, mom Kathy.

This story first appeared in the December 4, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Rick and Kathy Hilton — the parents of Paris and Nicky — are investment partners in the American group Omniscient that is mulling a purchase of the iconic French footwear brand Charles Jourdan, which currently is in bankruptcy. If Omniscent agrees to buy Jourdan, president Lucien Lallouz said his plans would include the launch of a Kathy Hilton by Charles Jourdan line of shoes. This would mark Kathy Hilton’s first product under her name. While she has attended fashion shows in past seasons, fashion collections generally have been the domain of her daughters.

Lallouz was involved with several of the Paris Hilton product licensing deals, including the heiress’ fragrance with Parlux.

But since these are the Hiltons — and controversy seems to surround the family like the earth orbits the sun — the deal isn’t a straightforward one. It’s unclear whether the current firm actually owns the rights to its own brand. Last week, French shoe firm Repetto retracted its offer to buy Jourdan because of the uncertainty.

Meanwhile, police in Switzerland last week arrested Jourdan’s last owner, Yannis Bilquez, for alleged “disloyal management.” Bilquez purchased Jourdan two years ago via a Luxembourg holding company called Finaluxe.

On Monday, a French court set a deadline of Dec. 17 for Omniscient to decide whether it will buy the bankrupt shoe company for a symbolic euro, or $1.46 at current exchange.

“I’m very optimistic [for a resolution],” said Lallouz. “It’s a tremendous brand in terms of consumer awareness.”

In addition to fashion, Kathy Hilton is checking into the beauty world. Hilton will appear today on HSN at 6 a.m., 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. to tease her upcoming PureBotanical skin care line and her My Secret fragrance.

To introduce consumers to both, Hilton will sell a $24.80 gift set containing a 0.5-oz. Anti-Wrinkle Cream, (expected to be PureBotanical’s star product) and a 0.25-oz. My Secret perfume rollerball. Both items are expected to spawn full-blown collections by spring.

Hilton held a lunch Monday at Le Cirque in Manhattan to introduce the products to socialite friends, including Denise Rich, Sloan Barnett, Somers Farkas, Andrea Stark and Bettina Zilkha.

The PureBotanical line includes the proprietary Complex H5, which Hilton is touting as a mix of nature and science sourced from the Amazon rainforest. Hilton’s beauty products are exclusive to HSN.