PARIS -- Ines de la Fressange is breaking away from Orcofi, the luxury goods holding company.
De la Fressange said that Orcofi and two private investors have sold their 60 percent share in her business to Francois Vuitton, an heir to the Louis Vuitton family fortune, for an undisclosed sum.
Francois Vuitton, 40, is giving up his post at Orcofi to become de la Fressange's business partner. De la Fressange will hold the remaining 40 percent interest in her namesake company.
"You can benefit from the synergies in a group to set up a business," de la Fressange said Thursday from her Paris home. "But there is nothing better than to have a small, very concerned core group to run a company once it's off the ground. We did this [transaction] with the goal of developing the company."
Henry Racamier, president of Orcofi, could not be reached for comment.
De la Fressange is looking to grow her business in two directions. She is eager to expand in the U.S., where she said her Saks Fifth Avenue boutique has done well.
"There was one week in December where Saks told me that we did 25 percent of sales for the floor," she said. "We ran out of stock and had to send over clothes fast. We even sent goods from the previous season."
Another direction for the company is licensing. Deals for fashion jewelry and scarves were put on hold when the sale of Orcofi's stake first came up some six months ago, de la Fressange said. Now that the sale is done, she will pursue those licenses. She declined, however, to reveal her potential partners, or the nature of the agreements.
"Ten years ago, the word license was pejorative," de la Fressange said. "Now, you can make a good product, with a good price, for wider distribution, but under close surveillance."
While de la Fressange already has accessories under her name, they are sold mainly in her own stores. She said she is now eager to tap into more sales points.
"In all change there is opportunity -- there's a new energy that comes out of it," de la Fressange said. "It was formidable to have worked with Orcofi. They helped me build my business. But to go into fifth gear, you can't do better than a small team."
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