Gilt Groupe Inc. raised $138 million in new funding, valuing the online retailer at $1 billion as it scouts for acquisitions and readies a full-price men’s apparel site.
“There’ll be a lot more consolidation in this space in the next 12 months,” Kevin Ryan, founder and chief executive officer of Gilt, told WWD. “The large companies like ourselves have a lot of revenues and a lot of traffic, and it’s going to be hard for the smaller companies to compete.”
Buying an online leader in bridal sales, for example, would give Gilt a running start in the category with vendor relationships, a customer base and knowledgeable executives, Ryan said.
After three-and-a-half years, Gilt is still in a phase of frenetic growth and still losing money, though the ceo said the company is in the red because it is ramping up new businesses, including the men’s site and a gourmet food site. Gilt is also looking abroad. Japanese cell phone company Softbank Group provided $62.5 million of the new funding and agreed to buy a 50 percent stake in Gilt’s Japanese subsidiary.
“We have 125 open positions right now and I have 14 full-time recruiters who only hire,” Ryan said. Thirty of Gilt’s 670 employees are working on new businesses.
Revenues this year are expected to range from $400 million to $500 million — 20 percent of which will come from men’s apparel. Ryan said an initial public offering was in the offing, but not over the next 12 months.
The name of Gilt’s full-price men’s site will be unveiled next month, and Ryan said he’s ready for the well-heeled competition.
“If you go to Saks and Nordstrom [online], my guess is what you’ll see when you arrive there are two women in dresses,” he said. “The question is: Is that a men’s site or is that really a women’s site?”
Those companies have superior brand recognition and marketing muscle, but Ryan is unfazed.
“Our online male sales are three to four times bigger than Saks and five times bigger than Bloomingdale’s,” he said. “The question is: Who should be worried?”
“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