PARIS — The downsizing continues at Yohji Yamamoto. The Japanese firm said Monday it was mulling the closure of its flagship in Antwerp, Belgium, its largest store in the world, following the shuttering last week of two units in New York, on Grand Street and Gansevoort Street. The closures are part of a restructuring plan put in place by Japanese private equity fund Integral Corp., which took over Yamamoto after it filed for bankruptcy protection with the Tokyo District Court last October. Yamamoto also said Monday it would prolong the suspension of its men’s secondary line, Y’s. The brand has set a showroom presentation for its principal line, Yohji Yamamoto Homme, during Paris Men’s Fashion Week, having already opted out of a runway show last June. The Antwerp store, opened in October 2007, spans 10,300 square feet. The fate of the store will be decided in the next few months, a spokeswoman in Paris said. The company noted it would focus on France, the U.K. and Hong Kong as its key overseas markets. Yohji Yamamoto Inc. also named a new board of directors consisting of incumbent chief executive officer Shohei Otsuka; chairman Yoshihiro Hemmi — whose appointment was announced in October — and Reijiro Yamamoto, representative director and partner of Integral, who is not related to the designer. Hemmi, a former Adidas Japan executive, told WWD in an interview last month that Integral is attempting to make the brand more “muscular.” He reiterated that Integral plans to close about 20 to 30 stores over the next few years. Hemmi said past management engaged in foreign expansion plans that were too ambitious for a niche luxury player like Yamamoto. “The approach that the past management has taken in terms of building megashops with million-dollar investments in fixtures — [those strategies] are better [suited] to the Louis Vuittons and Hermèses of the world, who have deep pockets,” he said. Integral is working with Otsuka, who is also the husband of Limi Yamamoto (Yohji’s daughter), to find the best strategy for a niche brand with an intensely loyal consumer base and distinctly Japanese heritage. That could mean tapping into a number of tools such as personalized marketing, multibrand distribution channels and Internet sales, and broadening the brand’s reach to new markets like China. “I don’t know how many customers Yohji has today. Probably in Japan it’s 200,000 or less. So just try and make that 300,000 and it’s a 50 percent business growth, so it doesn’t take a grand shop in Ginza to make that happen,” Hemmi said. “There are probably different, more personalized approaches to grow the business.” Annual sales at Yamamoto peaked in 1999 at around 12 billion yen, or about $109 million at average exchange for that year, but have declined since then to about 7.5 billion yen, or about $80 million, for the year ended Aug. 31, 2009, according to the most recent figures available.
To celebrate Pride 2018, @themarcjacobs released the #GratefulNotHateful campaign, a social media initiative aimed at extending Pride beyond the parade. Inspired by Jacobs’ everyday outlook, the campaign features Jacobs along with a group of models and social media stars who are members and supporters of the LGBT community, all seen wearing @marcbeauty’s Highliner Gel Eye Crayons in colors of the rainbow. Head to our Instagram stories to see close-ups of the liner. #wwdbeauty
Virgil Abloh’s dad Nee and Don Crawley, cofounder of RSVP Gallery, were some of the hometown crew at the Chicago-born designer’s debut show for Louis Vuitton. (📸: @jdiderich ) #wwdmens #louisvuitton #virgilabloh
About last night: @marycharteris and @adwoaaboah hit up Hyde Park for the Serpentine Galleries’ annual summer party held in partnership with @chanelofficial. Head to WWD.com to see more photos. #wwdfashion
“This is Paris, my first show. I’m all about democracy. If some kid shows up, flew from New Jersey to just be around, let’s get him a seat.” — @virgilabloh tells WWD’s @jdiderich ahead of his first show for @louisvuitton men’s. (📸: @alfredo_piola ) #wwdmens #virgilabloh #louisvuitton
“Kate Spade was a true fashion icon who brought joy to the lives of women around the world, and inspired women to live life to the fullest. We are dedicated to carrying on her legacy,” said Anna Bakst, brand president and chief executive officer of @katespadeny. The Kate Spade Foundation announced that it will be donating $1 million to suicide prevention and mental health awareness in tribute to the recent death of Kate Spade. Read more on WWD.com. #wwdnews (📷: @chinseephoto)
A first look at @virgilabloh’s sneakers for @louisvuitton. Abloh spoke to WWD about his debut collection for Louis Vuitton, creating @kendalljenner’s #metgala outfit and redefining the heritage brand. Read the full story on WWD.com. #wwdfashion 📷: @alfredo_piola)
The world’s largest producer of denim @iskodenim is sharing the strategy behind its product development process. Read our full interview with ISKO’s product development manager Baris Ozden on the company’s extensive research practices, upcoming denim trends and the latest material innovations on WWD.com. #iskodenim