MAY CO. PROMOTES KAHN, BATTRAM, AMONG SERIES OF TOP-LEVEL SHIFTS
Byline: David Moin
NEW YORK--In a string of top-level promotions, May Department Stores Co. named Gene Kahn vice chairman, while Richard Battram has been elevated to executive vice chairman. Kahn, one of the industry's top merchants, is currently chief executive officer of the 39-unit, $1.3 billion Filene's division, based in Boston. Battram, 61, is currently a vice chairman of the corporation. When the shifts take effect March 1, Battram will have the Lord & Taylor, Hecht's, Foley's and Robinson's/May divisions reporting to him, while the remaining divisions--Filene's, Kaufmann's, Famous Barr and Meier & Frank--will report to Kahn, who is 45. Observers said the changes announced Friday were geared to beef up department store management in light of May Co.'s decision to spin off its $2.3 billion Payless Shoe Source chain to shareholders and focus on department stores. That decision in January raised speculation that May Co. would seek to buy additional department stores, including the 13 Strawbridge & Clothier department stores, which are up for sale. S&C's 27-unit Clover division is also up for sale, and Kohl's and Target reportedly are among the interested parties. Boscov's is also said to be interested in some S&C units. May Co. has been aggressive about acquisition, purchasing Woodward & Lothrop--including its John Wanamaker division--last August. It's also said to have held talks with Mercantile Stores and Dayton Hudson, but those chains say they are not up for sale. Mercantile did say it was in merger talks, but they went nowhere. In other changes at May Co., Jerome T. Loeb, president, will assume the responsibilities of Thomas A. Hays, deputy chairman, who retires April 30. Loeb, 55, oversees sales support activities and serves as chief financial officer, handling information systems, legal, credit and treasury areas. Hays, 63, handles human resources and real estate activities. On Friday, a May Co. spokesman would not say whether the promotions also reflected the formation of a succession plan. David Farrell, the 62-year-old chairman and ceo of May Co., has ruled the company with an iron fist and has given no clues about who may be in line to succeed him down the road. While the vice chairmen of the corporation could be considered in the running, May Co. has some divisional heads who could also be considered potential candidates, according to observers. Among them is Marshall Hilsberg, ceo of Lord & Taylor. It's also possible that a non-May executive would be considered. Succeeding Kahn at Filene's is Judith Hofer, who currently runs the Meier & Frank division in Portland. Hofer, 56, is being succeeded by Richard Maloney, 47, who was senior vice president and general merchandise manager at the Foley's division. Battram, currently vice chairman, has been with May Co. since 1972. Kahn joined May Co. in 1990 and was with R.H. Macy & Co. for 20 years. "He's an instinctive merchant, with a great feeling for goods and great enthusiasm," said a source. "He's well liked in the market." The Filene's division gained an edge in the Northeast due to the difficulties rival Federated Department Stores experienced when it merged Jordan Marsh and Abraham & Straus into Macy's. Kahn and Anthony J. Torcasio, 50, president and ceo of May Merchandising, were named to the board.
“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