MILAN — Gianfranco Ferré’s new owner, Paris Group, has ousted the brand’s creative directors Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi, WWD has learned.
A well-placed source said, “Sales didn’t go well at all and the designers have already left.”
Paris Group owner Abdulkader Sankari and his son Ahmed attended their first Ferré show as the new owners of the brand in February and while tight-lipped about the future of the company, it was obvious the designers were treading on uncertain terrain. Ahmed Sankari, who took on the role of chairman of the company, and his father spoke highly of chief executive officer Michela Piva, who appears to be confirmed in her role, but were less warm about Aquilano and Rimondi. “We will see,” was all they had to say about whether the duo would stay on.
A retailer who asked to remain anonymous also blamed poor sales as the main reason for their departure. “We bought a minimal amount of the collection for the sake of carrying the brand, but there simply were not enough samples,” said the retailer. “There was almost no daywear and eveningwear was fairy tale, like something for the Oscars. It may work for a small, niche brand, but not for such a global brand.”
While conceding sales of the Ferré label had suffered following the death of the designer in June 2007, Michele Giglio, owner of seven boutiques in Palermo, Italy, praised Aquilano and Rimondi’s work. “They are very talented, but they have not had the chance to express this talent because they were asked to revisit Ferré’s archives, but Ferré died bringing his art and heritage with him, and it’s a mistake to continue following old patterns,” said Giglio.
“Companies should have the courage to keep the brand but do something else and entirely different, maybe adding no more than one or two iconic items to the collection,” said Giglio, citing Dior as an example and what John Galliano did with the brand before he was disgraced.
One source in Milan said the Dubai-based Paris Group mulled the idea of tapping Galliano for the Ferré brand, although the company has denied this. Whatever the case, the deal did not materialize, just as speculation is mounting here that the firm is also thinking of buying LVMH Moët Hennessy’s 91 percent stake in the Galliano brand.
With precollections due out between May and June and Milan men’s fashion week scheduled at the end of June, one retailer believed “Ferrè will probably skip a season and have an in-house team design the men’s collection.”
“Paris Group is still finding its bearings,” said a source. “Figuratively speaking, it’s still opening all the drawers.”
Aquilano and Rimondi were tapped in April 2008, replacing Lars Nilsson, who left in February that year before he even completed his first collection for the house. The Italian designers garnered media and commercial recognition with their 6267 line, which was launched in 2004 and renamed Aquilano.Rimondi in 2008. Indeed, their own line has been consistently well received and considered a standout collection by several top retailers. “A breathtaking show, and a glorious moment for them,” Ken Downing, senior vice president and fashion director at Neiman Marcus, said of the fall collection in WWD’s seasonal buyers’ roundup. “The collection possessed the kind of detail one expects from couture, with exceptional quality.”
Paris Group secured the Gianfranco Ferré brand in February, as the label’s state-appointed administrators formally accepted the group’s binding offer.
The purchase price was not disclosed, but sources estimated Paris Group spent between 10 and 20 million euros, or $13.5 million and $27.1 million, for the company, which emerged from almost two years of government-backed bankruptcy protection.
Paris Group was founded more than 20 years ago by Abdulkader Sankari and is a fashion distributor and franchisee in the Middle East, where it operates more than 250 stores in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia for brands ranging from Versace and Cerruti to Canali and Ferré itself.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)