PARIS — Paris-based Kering has a stronger Italian accent than one might think.
At the end of last year, the French group’s head offices here on the Avenue Hoche housed about 160 employees of 17 nationalities — a dramatically more diverse lot than back in 2008, when there was only one non-French executive.
And Italian, not French, is “by far” the dominant nationality across the group, according to François-Henri Pinault, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer.
During Milan Fashion Week, which kicks off on Wednesday, Kering will further extend its ties with Italy by unveiling a new internship program with Vogue Italia. The partnership will offer 23 posts in areas such as design, merchandising, visual display, digital and communications, with the magazine and its Web site spearheading the selection process.
In an exclusive interview, Pinault underscored the importance of cultivating talents — from designers to skilled craftspeople — in the countries of origin of its brands, especially in Italy, where Kering’s luxury holdings include Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Brioni, Pomellato and Sergio Rossi.
“One way of keeping Made in Italy is to have very strong talent scouting and recruiting in that country, for people who understand what Italy is all about,” he said. “We are selling a piece of the culture of the country of origin so it’s very important that we keep this, but also reach new customers around the world.”
“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