NEW YORK — After 10 months on the job, Ron Frasch has finally been given a title at Saks Fifth Avenue: vice chairman and chief merchant, responsible for the merchandising and planning divisions.
The company also said Thursday that Andrew Jennings has been named chief operating officer, while remaining president. Previously, Jennings held the title of president and chief merchandising officer.
The reporting structure remains the same. Frasch still reports to Jennings, who continues to report to Fred Wilson, chairman and chief executive officer of Saks Fifth Avenue Enterprises.
In an exclusive interview, Saks officials said Frasch and Jennings will largely be performing the same functions as before. However, Jennings moves into a broader coordination role, with overall responsibility for merchandising, store operations, marketing and store planning and design for Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as oversight of Saks Direct. The new areas for Jennings are Saks Direct, store planning and design, Wilson said.
Meanwhile, Frasch moves deeper into the top merchant’s role. When he was hired by Saks in January, the company said he would be supervising private label and international operations for Saks Inc., the parent of Saks Fifth Avenue Enterprises and the Saks department store group. It was a peculiar assignment, given Frasch’s career experience in the luxury arena and his links to designers and suppliers in the U.S. and abroad. In earlier posts, he served as chairman and ceo of Bergdorf Goodman, president of GFT USA, president and ceo of Escada USA and senior vice president and general merchandise manager at Neiman Marcus.
Around last May, Saks’ gmm’s started reporting to Frasch. However, due to his non-compete agreement with his former employer, Bergdorf parent the Neiman Marcus Group, he was technically not allowed to be heavily involved in the marketplace. With Thursday’s announcement, it appears the restrictions have expired, and the roles Frasch and Jennings play in the organization — and how the two executives interact — is no longer a mystery.
“This clarifies Ron’s and Andrew’s roles and responsibilities as we move forward at Saks Fifth Avenue Enterprises,” Wilson told WWD. “We run this company as partners.”Prior to joining Saks, Jennings was president and managing director of Holt Renfrew Specialty Store Group, Canada’s leading luxury specialty store chain.
Jennings and Frasch are members of the senior executive committee of Saks Fifth Avenue Enterprises, chaired by Wilson. The other two members are Manny Sousa, executive vice president of human resources, and Donald Watros, executive vice president and chief administrative officer.
“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