LOOK AT DIZ: Balmain has lined up Txampi Diz as the house’s first chief marketing officer.
After more than 15 years at KCD Worldwide, Diz has exited as senior vice president and managing director of KCD Paris. What he won’t be relinquishing is an advisor role to KCD’s executive board of directors. Balmain is one of the American agency’s largest clients. Balmain’s team works with KCD’s offices in New York, Paris and London across all of its divisions — media relations, creative services and digital.
In step with Diz’s news, KCD Paris has promoted Alexis Arnault and Michele Giacalone to managing directors. Previously, the two men held the title of vice president of public relations. They will work with agency partner and managing director Laurence Laure. Arnault and Giacalone have been with the agency for 14 years and 6 years respectively.
In this new post, Diz is to oversee marketing, advertising, media relations and digital responsibilities. He will report to chief executive officer Massimo Piombini and he will work closely with creative director Olivier Rousteing. Diz has been very much part of Rouesting’s inner circle as he has amassed a colossal social media following, due partially to big-name fans like Kim Kardashian, Kanye West and Rihanna.
Change has been in the air at Balmain since Piombini took over as ceo, succeeding Emmanuel Diemoz, in April. The C-suite appointment was meant to signal Balmain’s ambition to become a global leader in luxury goods under its Qatari owners. Balmain is owned by Mayhoola for Investments, the investment fund that is backed by the emir of Qatar. When Balmain was acquired last June by Mayhoola for Investments, the five-year plan called for aggressive retail expansion. Today Balmain’s business is 90 percent wholesale, but Piombini expects that its retail business will grow to 45 percent in three to five years. There currently are 16 freestanding stores.
Like Diz, Piombini knows Balmain’s inner workings well. Before taking on the ceo title, he was already a member of the board of directors. He also served as worldwide commercial director of Valentino SpA, which like Balmain, is owned by Mayhoola for Investments. Earlier this year in an interview with WWD, Piombini and Rousteing said they plan to open stores and broaden the product assortment. The combination is part of a larger strategy to shift Rouseting’s design aesthetic and to expand Balmain to a wider audience. Piombini has said the deep-pocketed Qatari fund was willing to support a big retail push to make Balmain its next success story.
In July, Balmain opened its first West Coast store in Los Angeles with an opening night party that attracted Kardashian and Halsey, among others. The Melrose Place unit showcases its newly relaunched accessories collections and a fresh retail concept. In Europe, the Balmain team moved into new headquarters in central Paris earlier this year.