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.
“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)