LF USA has purchased handbag firm Van Zeeland Inc. for $330 million.
LF USA is a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Li & Fung Ltd. Van Zeeland, whose brands include Kathy Van Zeeland, B. Makowsky and Tignanello, was founded by the husband and wife team of Kathy Van Zeeland and Bruce Makowsky. Prior to Van Zeeland, the two spearheaded the growth of the handbag line at Nine West.
“There aren’t that many [individuals] out there with the quality of design and management that Kathy and Bruce have,” Rick Darling, president of LF USA, told WWD on Wednesday.
Darling said the acquisition will help expand LF’s nonapparel business, as well as build a strong wholesale business in multiple channels of distribution, with synergies in place from the earlier purchase of the Rosetti handbag business.
Li & Fung Ltd. bought Rosetti Handbags and Accessories Ltd. in July 2006 for $162 million. Rosetti posted sales of $195 million in 2005, the most recent figures released.
According to Darling, Rosetti is sold primarily at midtier and mass stores and has recently entered the department store sector. Van Zeeland is sold primarily in department stores such as Macy’s and Dillard’s, and on QVC.
“We looked strategically at what we can do to get [Van Zeeland] to the next level, and they had a vision to build their company to be the biggest in the accessories business,” Darling said.
Van Zeeland and Makowsky have long-term employment agreements and will continue to run the business from their Manhattan offices. The two will remain as co-presidents of the four-year-old operation, with Van Zeeland continuing as head designer and Makowsky overseeing the growth and direction of the business.
Darling noted Van Zeeland is looking to expand into other product categories, with extensions into jewelry and footwear the next logical step. Darling predicted an expansion into apparel down the road. He added the parties will soon develop a plan over the next six months to roll out new product categories.
The Van Zeeland business currently has an annual volume of $200 million, according to Darling.
“We can support the sourcing for the product, [and] can move as quickly as is appropriate for the marketplace. Product extension can take place very quickly,” Darling said. “Whether business is tough or not at retail, great product sells. We have no plans to hold back on development [projects] due to the current environment. In fact, this is an opportunity to penetrate the market quickly.”
Makowsky said, “The reason we did this deal is because we can use Li & Fung as a platform to make all of our brands [into] lifestyle brands, and to get into all these classifications that we’re not in right now. Our goal is to be the number-one accessory brand in the U.S....We felt that Li & Fung would be our best partner.”
In Hong Kong, Li & Fung Ltd. said first-half profits spiked 18 percent to 1.2 billion Hong Kong dollars, or $161 million at average exchange for the period. Sales rose 25 percent to 47.4 billion Hong Kong dollars, or $6.2 billion.
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye