PARIS — In a planned leadership change, Ralph Lauren Corp. has appointed John Hooks its new group president, Europe, effective immediately.
Previously, Hooks was deputy chairman and vice president at Giorgio Armani Group, a post he left last May after 11 years at the Italian firm.
To be based at Lauren’s European headquarters in Geneva, Hooks, 55, succeeds Brian Duffy, who headed the European business since 2003. During that time, it was transformed from a small, licensed operation to a fully consolidated and integrated business, setting the stage for rapid growth.
Duffy plans to remain with Lauren through the end of its fiscal year to ensure a smooth transition.
Lauren’s business in Europe has been on a strong growth track, generating revenues of $1.2 billion its latest fiscal year versus approximately $200 million a decade ago.
In recent years, the company has upgraded its wholesale distribution in Europe, opened luxurious boutiques — including two sumptuous units in Paris — and raised the brand profile with increased communications spending and events like the exhibition of vintage racing cars that wound up this summer at Les Arts Décoratifs here.
“I want to thank Brian for his dedication and leadership in supporting the growth of our business in Europe. His passion and commitment have been vital to our successes in this important market,” stated Ralph Lauren, chairman and chief executive officer. “John Hooks has an outstanding reputation and track record of developing and growing a global business. With his affinity for and knowledge of the luxury and European markets, I know he will play a significant role in the Ralph Lauren Corp. as we continue on our path of being one of the world’s leading luxury companies.”
Lauren recently said it would invest more than $1 billion into capital expenditures over the next three years, with the lion’s share of that amount going to grow the company’s store base internationally, particularly in Europe and through concession shops in China and Hong Kong.
“Over the past eight years, Brian has led a talented team of professionals who have successfully grown and expanded our European business. I am confident that under John’s direction, we will continue to build on our strengths as a premier multibrand, multichannel company in Europe,” added Roger Farah, Ralph Lauren’s president and chief operating officer.
Hooks joined Armani as corporate commercial and marketing director in 2000, after leaving his post as Jil Sander AG’s international director of sales.
His role at Armani was a new one, and he helped develop its global, multichannel global business.
In September 2009, Armani promoted Hooks from his deputy general manager title to deputy chairman. He also joined the board with responsibility for global strategy and markets and brand development. Hooks maintained his responsibilities for the group’s foreign subsidiaries. Hooks was instrumental in expanding all the designer’s brands globally, from the first Giorgio Armani and Emporio Armani stores in India in 2008 to the biggest Giorgio Armani store in the world, on Milan’s Via Montenapoleone, and Emporio Armani’s first flagship in Moscow that same year.
Hooks began his fashion career with Gruppo GFT in Italy.
“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