NEW YORK — Michael Kors has set his sights on Rodeo Drive as well as expanding his collection business along the way.
The designer is looking at locations on the luxury retail strip of Beverly Hills to open his second U.S. collection store sometime next year, said Allison Ryba, who joined Michael Kors LLC in May as interim president. In an interview, Ryba outlined the company’s new retail strategy since it was acquired by Lawrence Stroll and Silas Chou through their company, Sportswear Holdings Limited, on Jan. 30.
Based on the success of the Michael Kors flagship on New York’s Madison Avenue that opened in September 2000, as well as a Tokyo location operated by Kashiyama that opened in February, the firm has been looking for ways to support its collection business with new locations, Ryba said. As Kors — who won the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Men’s Wear Designer of the Year award this year — is winding down his involvement as creative director of the French label Celine, he plans to devote more energy to his signature line while the iron is hot.
There is also a more positive feeling at the house since the buyout was completed, as there had been an impression in the past that its former multiple owners, including LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Onward Kashiyama, considered the high-end collection as the lowest of Kors’ priorities.
Reflecting that mood, Ryba announced three executive promotions at the company this week. Anne Waterman, vice president of communications for Michael Kors, was promoted to senior vice president of communications, while Lance Le Pere and Tim DiSalvo, who were creative directors and vice presidents for women’s wear and men’s wear, respectively, were each promoted to the title of senior vice president, creative director for the collections.
Le Pere has worked with Kors since 1992, when he was a student at Parsons School of Design. He was design director of the Kors collection prior to 1997, when he became design director of Celine. He recently moved back to New York as creative director and vice president and was promoted to senior vice president this week. DiSalvo worked on the original launch of Michael Kors men’s wear in the early Nineties and rejoined the company as design director of the men’s relaunch in 2002. Waterman has been with the company since 1997.In Los Angeles, the company is looking at several available spaces along Rodeo Drive that are in the neighborhood of 3,000 square feet, about the same size as the store at 974 Madison Avenue. It will similarly carry the full range of Michael Kors products, including women’s and men’s wear, sunglasses, accessories and shoes.
In addition to expanding its company-owned retail operations, Kors has also begun to develop a new in-store shop concept that Ryba said she hopes to begin rolling out next year. The firm is also increasing its budgets for both co-op and institutionalized advertising.
Kors is working with retail design veteran Robin Kramer of Kramer Design Group on the in-store concept, which would replace the hodgepodge of aesthetics that currently characterize the designer’s floor space at stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. In the past, the Kors staff has introduced elements such as a table or small display, but never something that would visually accentuate Kors’ design signature.
“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