PARIS — At 80, designer Pierre Cardin figures he’s done just about everything possible — except sell his far-flung holdings.
But Cardin told WWD last week he has set himself a deadline to do just that within the next 12 months. It is understood that French bank Crédit Agricole is spearheading the effort.
"I have three offers already pending," he said in an interview at his headquarters, flashing what he claimed were proposals."I have one offer from a Russian company, one in Asia and one in the United States. I want to do it in the next year. I’m still strong today. But who knows, in three or four years I could have gone senile or be dead."
Cardin said he has yet to accept a deal because "I’m holding out for more money." As is his habit in financial matters, he declined to provide details. But sources said selling Cardin’s tangled web of companies will be no easy feat — and the firms are likely to be unloaded one by one. Likely candidates for the U.S. business could be any of his licensees, which include Beldoch, which holds the license for Cardin women’s wear in North America.
Retail sales of Cardin products are estimated at $1.5 billion. But the designer insists on running virtually every aspect of his company himself, secretly. His empire spans some 800 licensed products, theaters, hotels, a cultural center in eastern Paris, galleries and some 30 restaurants.
When asked about recent reports that his house was strapped with some $60 million in debt, the designer scoffed. "That’s completely false," he said. "I have more money than I know what to do with. That’s a rumor started by someone — someone malicious — who owes me tons of cash. If I was in debt, I could sell one of my holdings and that would be it. But I’m not. That should prove to you that I’ve no troubles."
French business magazine Challenges this summer ranked Cardin the 44th richest man in France with a fortune worth $600 million. According to documents available at the Paris Chamber of Commerce, Cardin’s pyramid of companies in France generated some $45 million in royalties and other revenues — and $1.8 million in profits — in 2001.A spokesman for Cardin said these figures paint an incomplete picture because the designer also has companies in numerous other countries and their sales are not public information in France.
Meanwhile, Cardin insisted he’s not selling for the money. "I’ve always been avant-garde. Everything I’ve done has been 20 or 30 [years] in advance of everyone else," he said. "I was the first one to buy a restaurant. Now, look around you, [Pierre] Bergé and [Francois] Pinault have restaurants. I’ve always been misunderstood because I’m not conventional. I’ve done it my way."
From overseeing America’s fastest-growing speciality retailers to codifying cool, WWD talked to the women who are leading the way for the future of beauty. Check out our Instagram Stories to see how these women built today and are creating tomorrow. (📸: @hannah_khymych) #wwdbeauty
For @laperlalingerie's spring 2018 show, the brand chose to host their event at @thevenetianmacao. With Chinese megastars @bingbing_fan and @hubing in attendance, La Perla debuted a rock ‘n’ roll-inspired collection. The show marked the start of Sands Macao Fashion Week, which runs from October 19 to 24 — the city’s first such event. Pictured here are models backstage with glimmering eyes. #wwdfashion (📷: Cheuk-Yin To)
Trending for spring 2018: top stitch design. Gone are the days of stitch just for seams — designers are using the once-minimal detail to create strong decorative elements. (📷: Paola Testa; Styled by @andrew_shang) #wwdfashion
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)