NEW YORK — Mario Grauso has stepped down as president of the Vera Wang Group, effective Feb. 15.
He will continue working with the group as a consultant, focusing primarily on the brand’s advertising campaigns and retail expansion. His decision was prompted by his interest in pursuing new projects independently.
“I have enjoyed helping Vera grow her company over the past three years and feel that it is time for me to pursue several other projects which have interested me for some time,” said Grauso. “I wish [Vera] every success and look forward to helping her as a consultant and friend.”
Wang, who will continue to oversee all creative and design aspects of her company, noted, “It has been an exciting time for our brand as we have grown and established new, global projects over the years and have grown our business tremendously. Mario has been an essential player in our recent development, and I am happy that he agreed to stay on board as a consultant and continue working with us. As his friend, I am also very excited for him as he looks towards new ventures.”
Grauso took over the executive reins of the firm in October 2009, freeing up Wang to focus more on the creative side. The designer had been seeking to fill that role for about five years. Grauso had returned to the company after a 10-year hiatus. During that period, he was president of Carolina Herrera Ltd. and Puig Fashion Group, from 2000 to 2009. He began as president of Carolina Herrera, and in 2004 he took on the role of overseeing the Nina Ricci and Paco Rabanne fashion houses. Grauso started his career as an intern at Ralph Lauren and later became executive vice president of Vera Wang. He has also been president of Celine Inc., overseeing the U.S. operations of the Paris-based fashion brand.
When he rejoined Wang in 2009, the designer told WWD: “What Mario brings to the table is his work ethic — I think most people know I have a fairly extreme work ethic myself — that’s great.”
“Now there are two crazy control freaks making sure that everything is perfect,” Grauso said at the time.
At Wang, Grauso was charged with reexamining the designer’s contemporary Lavender business (it recently signed a deal with The Levy Group to do a better-price dress line); developing the burgeoning jewelry and shoe sectors; expanding distribution internationally; opening more freestanding stores (such as the ready-to-wear store on Melrose in Los Angeles and a bridal store in San Francisco) and dressing more celebrities for the red carpet.
In business since 1990, Wang has continued to widen the scope of her brand through licensing arrangements. Her current licensees range from tabletop and stationery to footwear; eyewear; bedding; fragrances; Simply Vera Vera Wang, an exclusive collection for Kohl’s; White by Vera Wang, an exclusive collection for David’s Bridal, and Vera Wang Love jewelry, exclusively for Zales.
Under Grauso’s leadership, Wang aggressively penetrated the Asian market. Last year, it opened stores in Hong Kong and Shanghai and plans a Beijing boutique in 2014. This past summer it also opened its first freestanding bridal boutique in Japan in the Ginza neighborhood, which was followed by bridal boutiques in London, Moscow, Sydney and Seoul.
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion