PARIS — The house of Angelo Tarlazzi is the latest fashion player to attract a private equity partner.
The designer said Tuesday the French fund Xaap Finance has taken a 67 percent stake in the company with plans to accelerate growth by expanding wholesale distribution, reentering the retail business and moving into accessories and footwear. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The designer and Tarlazzi chief executive officer Bruno Degeorges, who retain the rest of the shares, said they hope to lift the house back to its pinnacle in the go-go Eighties, when revenues totaled around 40 million euros and the brand had boutiques from New York to Tokyo.
Last year, revenues vaulted 40 percent to about 3 million euros, or $4.1 million at average exchange rates.
"Each new project will come with an envelope of funding," Degeorges said in an interview in Tarlazzi's office, the designer's desk strewn with sketches for his summer 2009 collection. "We will be opening a store in Paris in 2009 and are currently searching for a location."
Famous in the Eighties for his dramatic eveningwear and flyaway dresses, Tarlazzi has recently made inroads into specialty stores, with U.S. buyers receptive to his knitwear, tailored jerseys and versatile shirtdresses, which booked strongly for resort. He had been absent from the U.S. market for about a decade until a few years ago, and stopped showing on the runway in Paris in 2003.
Degeorges said the U.S. accounts for about half of the label's business, which gave Xaap confidence in its expansion potential. The brand is sold in about 60 U.S. doors including Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Ultimo, Tootsie's and Stanley Korshak, often positioned next to Italian labels such as Moschino, Blumarine and Etro.
Degeorges described an investment horizon of at least 10 years. "It is our role to assume the financial development of the company. There is a huge potential owing to their success in the U.S. and 30 years of history as a label," said Patrick Papot, president of Xaap Finance.
This is the first fashion investment for Xaap, which counts holdings in diverse industries such as chemicals, transportation and finance.
Italian-born Tarlazzi launched his label in 1978 and operated under the radar as the company changed hands and regrouped. He designs five collections a year and said he is eager to return to men's wear.
Meanwhile, Tarlazzi and Degeorges said they are mulling ways to boost the brand's media profile, with a possible return to the runway, and to again take on the Asian market, notably Japan. "We have an objective of 30 to 40 million euros in five years" Degeorges said.
“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