NEW YORK — Kellwood Co., already a major Seventh Avenue deal maker, has beefed up its ability to assess acquisition targets and new business opportunities.
Sarah A. Wallace has been brought on board as vice president of strategic planning and new business development. In the newly created position, Wallace will analyze business opportunities and lead strategic planning initiatives for the $2.4 billion company and its various divisions. She reports to Robert C. Skinner Jr., president and chief operating officer, and Stephen Ruzow, president of the Kellwood women’s wear.
“Between the new initiatives, which we have going on, and the acquisitions that we’re looking at, we really needed somebody who could devote their full time to business planning,” Ruzow said in a phone interview.
Among Kellwood’s recent licensing agreements are Liz Claiborne dresses and suits, a Calvin Klein better women’s line and an Izod moderate women’s line from Phillips-Van Heusen, XOXO junior apparel from Global Brand Holdings, Run Athletics and Def Jam University sportswear from Russell Simmons and Dockers’ tops with Levi Strauss & Co.
While the number of licensing deals that Kellwood has engaged in has increased lately, Ruzow said the firm generally completes one to two acquisitions a year, a pace it intends to keep up.
In February 2003, the firm acquired pants and skirts maker Briggs New York Corp., a $200 million business. The firm is also said to be considering an acquisition of Phat Fashions Inc.
“While Kellwood has always been excellent at doing due diligence, due diligence is all history,” Ruzow added. “We want to put a heavy emphasis on forward planning and looking at where the companies we’re acquiring have been, where they are today and, looking at the door level, at where they’re going.”
In the mid-Nineties, Wallace worked at Donna Karan, rising to the position of vice president of worldwide licensing. This led to a tour at Salomon Smith Barney as an equity research associate. Most recently, she was a consultant, aiding apparel companies with due diligence and business planning.
“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