Mexx, the once-high-flying international brand that succumbed to competitive and economic pressures, is being relaunched by some of the same figures who ran the business in its heyday.The team has ambitious plans for Mexx, including a new brand image, web site and smaller store prototype. There's acknowledgement that the world and retail have changed, but some of Mexx's older markets are being revisited in an attempt to recapture some of the brand's former glory.The three senior executives who agreed to a management buy-in to Mexx International BV to relaunch the brand include chief executive officer Leo Cantagalli, brand director Nur Basaran and chief financial officer and chief operating officer Jacques Mitterand.The Drunen, Netherlands-based retailer launched a mini collection for spring 2018. The breadth of the assortment will bow in spring 2019 with apparel, shoes, accessories and handbags with Mexx priced just below Massimo Dutti, said Cantagalli. "Our brand director of 15 years is back running the show," he said. "We're going back to the way we designed collections in the past, with a contemporary smart look. We’re design followers of the haute couture, translated in our handwriting. We’re always addressing a cosmopolitan consumer, 25-plus, who lives in the big city."We had to come to the right price positioning," Cantagalli said. "We can do it with our sourcing. Mexx was always known for quality and value. We're smart, not casual and not city. It's somewhere in the middle."Five company-owned Mexx flagships are planned for Paris, Belgium, Amsterdam, Berlin and Munich. Created by Boffi Design with a contemporary minimalist look, the stores have been downsized for the digital age from the 8,611 to 12,916 square feet that was typical before to 2,152 to 3,229 square feet now.As in the past, the majority of Mexx units will be franchised. Cantagalli is returning to former stomping grounds such as Moscow and St. Petersburg, where Mexx has a partner in place. Mexx will be relaunched in Canada, where 100 stores operated. "We were always successful in Egypt with past Mexx partners," Cantagalli said. "We have 35 stores coming there."Mexx is opening its first franchised store in Holland and reentering Austria. Two areas that survived the turbulence are Greece, with 20 franchise units, and Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, with about 20 stores.E-commerce is a key launch strategy. Mexx rekindled its relationship with Amazon. "We have very high awareness. We have loyal consumers who've bought our products for 25 years. We’ve been many years with Amazon. You create a consumer base in your e-commerce. We have our specific consumer," the ceo said.Cantagalli said the company is starting with $20 million in revenues, which pales in comparison to the $1.4 billion Mexx posted at its height. "Hopefully, we'll get $40 million to $50 million by 2019. We hope the Internet will generate high volume," he said.The Dutch fashion brand has had a tumultuous history. Liz Claiborne acquired Mexx in 2001 and opened a 17,000-square-foot flagship on Fifth Avenue. Mexx had as many as 11 stores in the U.S. at one time, but the brand didn't take hold and Claiborne in 2011 sold its stake to private equity firm Gores Group."I had a fantastic time with Paul Charron [former chairman and chief executive officer of Liz Claiborne]," Cantagalli said. "Unfortunately, Paul retired. When the brand falls into the wrong hands and they don’t understand it or its DNA or its historical markets.…I saw it was going very badly in the course of the last year."Mexx was struggling when Gores Group took control. Unable to overcome the effects of Europe’s long-running double-dip recession and the rapid decline in Eastern Europe, Gores said at the time that it had "no choice but to liquidate the business worldwide."Gores sold Mexx's global IP to Turkish Eroğlu Holding Co. "Eroglu positioned Mexx next to Zara and H&M's price level," Cantagalli said. "Nobody in the world can compete with those prices."
Ron Janssen and Ferry Helmer, owners of RNF, a Dutch holding company for footwear, accessories and apparel companies, in 2017 founded Mexx International B.V., acquiring solely the global IP of the Mexx brand from Eroğlu. "We started from a ground-zero status," Cantagalli said.
"Unfortunately, if we don’t have a partner in the American market, I can’t do it from here," Cantagalli said. "I need a stable partner who understands the business in the U.S. Liz Claiborne was running the show. When we made the marriage with Paul Charron, we said we'd help Liz brands enter Europe and he'd help Mexx in the U.S. We don’t have the partner yet."We're putting Mexx right back where it belongs," he said. "We're putting it back on track. All the feedback we're getting from the historical partners is they're happy that Mexx is back. Hopefully, we'll continue in a better way."
EXCLUSIVE: Two and half months after John Targon, cofounder and codesigner of Baja East, was hired as creative director of the contemporary division at Marc Jacobs, he has left the company, WWD has learned. Marc Jacobs International, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, confirmed Targon’s departure in a statement: “John Targon is a talented designer and we appreciate the work he has done here. Ultimately working together did not make sense for the brand and we wish him the best.” Read the story by @jessiredale, link in bio. #wwdnews
@theluxurycollection is officially launching a collection, tapping Sofia Sanchez de Betak for the capsule. Over 30 styles will be featured in the Chufy x The Luxury Collection, debuting next month at Bergdorf Goodman, The Webster, FiveStory and more. De Betak, known as “@chufy,” drew inspiration for the collection from her trips to Japan in the past year #wwdfashion
@lhd, founder and CEO of @thewebster, has teamed up with @lebonmarcherivegauche for the European launch of her ready-to-wear line, LHD. The launch will come with an exclusive pop-up opening today that’s set to run through May 20. Located on the second floor, it carries her debut Miami-themed resort collection, launched in November as see-now-buy-now. #wwdfashion
@longchamp, which marks its 70th anniversary this year, just opened its biggest U.S. store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. On the lower level there’s a floor-to-ceiling display of the brand’s iconic Le Pliage bag – in all of its different colors, shapes and sizes. Customers can also have their product personalized in-store by imprinting names, initials or emblems. #wwdfashion (📷: @ericmtownsend)
“Whenever I’m in that place of sound and music, I don’t have fear or nervousness…This album has a lot of themes of courage and boldness and I want to be the soundtrack for people’s lives. I’ll be so happy if [my songs] evoke strength in people, which I know music has done for me,” says @kimbramusic of her newest album “Primal Heart.” The New Zealand-born singer sat down with WWD to talk about her music, newest tour and connecting with hear fans — read more on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
Luxury handbag resale company @rebagofficial is planning to sell a rare collectible for $70,000: the @hermes White Crocodile Himalayan Birkin. The exclusive Birkin sold for about $100,000 in 2008, when @davidbeckham bought one for his wife @victoriabeckham to add to her collection. Read more about the rare Birkin on WWD.com #wwdaccessories
With her costume pearl necklace and what-you-see-is-what-you-get style, Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday at age 92, was a straight-shooter from start to finish.
Born Barbara Pierce in New York City, Bush served as the 37th first lady, as well as the country’s second lady from 1981 to 1989. In addition to being part of the longest presidential marriage — 73 years — Bush also had the unlikely distinction of having one son, George W., become the 43rd president and another son, Jeb, run unsuccessfully in 2016. Having served as second lady during the Reagan administration’s two terms and lived all over the world during her own husband’s ascending political career, Barbara Bush made it clear that literacy — not fashion — was her priority. Read more from Rosemary Feitelberg’s obituary on the late First Lady in WWD.com, link in bio. #barbarabush #wwdnews
Western and ’90s trends have influenced denim for fall 2018. Think raw, dark and coated jeans mixed with bold prints and tough leather. #trendtuesdays #wwdfashion (Styled by @thealexbadia;📷: @ryanplett)