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A FAREWELL TO ROSE: This week marks the end of a dramatic era at Marks & Spencer, the U.K.’s largest clothing retailer, as Sir Stuart Rose stepped down as chairman. In 2004, Rose was drafted into the role of chief executive officer — abruptly — as the store fought a takeover bid by Sir Philip Green. In 2008, Rose took on the additional role of chairman. M&S prospered under Rose, who brought a degree of glamour to the brand, drafting big names such as Twiggy and Erin O’Connor to appear in ad campaigns, and boosting sales and profits. A smooth and press-savvy retail veteran, Rose started his career at M&S in the Seventies and worked 10 years in store’s food division. During the Nineties, he was instrumental in building up the Burton Group, which later became the Arcadia Group after a demerger in 1998 and today is owned by Green. Going forward, Rose will take on an advisory role at the private equity firm Bridgepoint. He will be succeeded at M&S by John Swannell, a former vice chairman of Citigroup’s European operations who had helped fend off Green’s takeover bid back in 2004. Last spring, Marc Bolland succeeded Rose as ceo.
A FRIENDLY LUNCH: Barneys New York chief executive officer Mark Lee has been rebuilding the ranks at the luxury chain, but isn’t into recycling prior talent, not even Gene Pressman. It may have looked that way for a second when the two were spotted Tuesday lunching together at Michael’s. “Mark and I are just friends. We wanted to have lunch so we had lunch,” said Pressman, a grandson of the store’s founder and a former co-ceo. “In conversation, everybody always asks me questions about Barneys.”
Pressman said Lee did ask him what he’s doing now. Pressman is a partner in KEO, a technology company creating Internet-based kiosks with touch-screen capability for people to find destinations, coupons, charge mobile devices for free, download books, music and magazines and other services. But as far as making a Barneys return, Pressman said: “We haven’t really discussed that.”
ARNOLD’S AGENDA: Jodi Arnold, the designer known for her intricate embellishment and painterly original prints, closed her store in Brooklyn at 347 Atlantic Avenue and Hoyt Street this month, and the fate of her Manhattan store is uncertain. Sources said Arnold is exploring several opportunities even as she continues discussions with existing and potential investors about keeping the business going. Arnold could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Her partner, DeForrest Borders 3rd, declined comment.
Arnold was reportedly affected by the tightening credit picture brought on by the recession. Like other smaller designer businesses, Arnold may be having difficulty obtaining factoring, sources said, although she is believed to be working with wholesale accounts.
Arnold’s store at 56 University Place and Tenth Street was originally conceived as a pop-up shop to run through Dec. 23, 2009. The permanent store subsequently bowed with a lease said to run for one year. Arnold’s label, originally known as Mint by Jodi Arnold when it launched in 1999, was renamed Jodi Arnold in 2007. She collaborated on two capsule collections for The Limited in March and August.
FEMMY HONOREES: The Underfashion Club has named the honorees for the annual 2011 Femmy Awards: Belk Stores; Chantelle, a French bra brand; Clover Group International Ltd., a global supplier; Cupid Intimates, and Jos Berry, founder of trend forecasting firm Concepts Paris. Cupid Intimates will receive the Innovation Award while Berry will be bestowed a Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Femmy Awards honor those individuals and companies that have significantly contributed to the intimate apparel industry and its growth. The gala is scheduled for Feb. 1 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York. The evening also will feature the eighth annual Student Design Contest showcasing the designs of students at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Attendees will select three student designers to receive cash awards. The theme for the contest will be “Ballet Russes,” inspired by classics such as “Swan Lake” and “Giselle.”
The event will mark the 53rd anniversary of the not-for-profit organization.
THE FAMILY BUSINESS: Ralph Lauren’s nephew, Greg Lauren, is set to launch his own high-end men’s and women’s collection this spring, according to sources. The high-concept designs are hand-sewn by the younger Lauren and already have been picked up by Barneys New York and a select group of top specialty retailers. Up until now, the new designer was better known for his artwork, some of which deconstructed the semiotics of clothing.
WHAT A CONCEPT: Look out for Hussein Chalayan in Paris during couture week in July. He’ll be in town to inaugurate a large-scale exhibition devoted to his designs at Les Arts Décoratifs. Chief curator Pamela Golbin said the London-based designer is emblematic of fashion’s intersection with the art world. And while his approach is surely conceptual, he never forgets that he’s making clothes, she stressed. With set design by Block Architecture, the Chalayan show is slated to open July 7 and run through Nov. 21.
SEVEN UP: Louis Vuitton, which opened a permanent art space atop its Paris flagship on the Champs-Elysées in 2006, will unveil a second L’Espace Louis Vuitton in Tokyo later this month on the seventh floor of its Omotesando flagship. The inaugural expo will be devoted to French artist Xavier Veilhan.
DOUBLE ACT: Gaspard Yurkievich will combine his men’s and women’s fall-winter 2011-12 collections in one show scheduled for Paris Fashion Week in March. The move is part of a new strategy due to be unveiled by the quirky Parisian designer in the same month. Yurkievich launched his men’s ready-to-wear and shoe lines in 2003, five years after introducing his women’s rtw line.