MILAN — Gianni Versace SpA said Friday that it isn’t preparing to issue a convertible bond, denying a press report.
The move would be similar to a tack taken by Prada Group before it set itscourse for an initial public offering. The denial comes as industry watchers continue to ponder how the Italian fashion house will drum up fresh funds to expand its empire.
In May, Donatella Versace said going public isn’t a priority but the company is leaving all its doors open as it pursues its growth strategy.
Meanwhile, the house sees its 2002 revenue rising 5 percent on 2001 sales of $515.54 million, a spokesman told WWD. (Dollar figures have been converted from the euro at current exchange.)
In the six months ended June 30, Versace saw its U.S. retail sales advance 24 percent while retail sales in Europe rose 9.8 percent, the spokesman said. He declined to specify sales figures but he attributed the hike to improved assortments and freshly renovated stores.
On the financing front, recurring speculation has Versace trying to sell a minority stake to private equity companies like Texas Pacific Group. TPG declined to comment on whether it is eyeing a Versace stake, but a source close to the situation said it is "unlikely" the U.S. company will invest in the Italian fashion group.
Armando Branchini, vice president of consultancy firm InterCorporate, said issuing debt could be a logical step for the company but so could selling a minority stake to a financial investor.
"It depends on what creates the most value [for the company]," he said. "What makes sense for the seller and what makes sense for the buyer."
No matter what path Versace chooses, it’s clear the company has its work cut out for it. Santo and Donatella Versace are busy implementing a broad restructuring plan they started 1 1/2 years ago. This plan calls for a tighter control over the house’s image through such measures as taking licensing deals in-house and buying back franchised stores.
As part of its cost saving, the Versace spokesman said the company was scaling back its fourth-quarter advertising. "In a difficult luxury marketplace, the company continues to operate from a position of strength, and we have chosen this expense control to help ensure continued profitability."He would not elaborate on the amount of the cuts, but industry sources estimated the slice at about 50 percent of the buy for the quarter.
Most recently, Versace bought back direct control over its South Beach, Miami,store for an undisclosed price. The store, which is being refurbished, will reopen at the end of the month. That move marks the ninth store Versace has bought back in the U.S. since last August.
“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