NEW YORK — Benetton’s largest U.S. retail licensee is grabbing up more square footage.
According to sources, Iraklis Karabassis, owner of about 70 Benetton stores in the U.S., has bought up a cluster of Benetton units in Manhattan. Karabassis, who is based in Washington, D.C., and Benetton officials could not be reached for comment Friday to learn whether Benetton is more aggressively trying to transfer ownership of its stores to individual entrepreneurs in the U.S. and elsewhere. Sources said Karabassis has bought at least six stores in Manhattan.
One source said Karabassis took ownership of the Manhattan stores on July 28, including units on Fifth Avenue and 48th Street, Third Avenue and 42nd Street, on Broadway in SoHo, and on 17th Street in Chelsea. Two Sisley stores were also believed to have been sold. Sisley is a division of The United Colors of Benetton.
About two years ago, Benetton launched a global strategy to open "mega" stores, including more that would be company-owned. However, most units are still part of a licensed network of stores operated by about 2,000 private entrepreneurs worldwide, but dictated to by Benetton. The stores are supplied strictly with merchandise designed and manufactured by Benetton and with Benetton-created fixtures and graphics. Benetton collects wholesale sales in return, while stores keep their own sales and profits.
Benetton has about 5,000 stores in 120 countries, including over 100 megastores. Another 100 to 200 megastores are seen opening over the next two years. Aside from The United Colors of Benetton and Sisley apparel brands, the group also owns the Playlife, Nordica, Prince, Rollerblade and Killer Loop brands. Recently, Benetton’s casual business has been doing better than its sports equipment brands and there had been speculation that Benetton might be looking to sell its sports brands, which the company denied in June.
“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