NEW YORK — Karin Gregersen has been appointed president of Vince, a division of Kellwood Co. The move is effective May 13.
Most recently, Gregersen was managing director of Chloé/Richemont North America, where she was responsible for the strategic development of Chloé and See by Chloé in the U.S., Canada and South America. A 13-year veteran of Chloé, Gregersen played a key role in developing its global business, product strategy, distribution network and brand awareness. Earlier, she was vice president of sales and marketing for Chloé and before that, European sales manger for Givenchy Paris, where she managed the European wholesale and accessories accounts. She began her career at Wolford Australia.
At Vince, Gregersen will oversee design, merchandising, product development, sales, marketing and all creative initiatives. She reports to Jill Granoff, chief executive officer of Vince and Kellwood.
Granoff told WWD that not only was Gregersen highly recommended to her by many of their retail partners, “but she really has a vast knowledge of both the designer and contemporary markets, with nearly 20 years of executive leadership experience, both on the apparel side and on the accessories side.”
“We’ve talked about our goal to develop Vince into a global lifestyle brand, and Karin’s experience in both apparel and accessories is a tremendous asset to our team,” added Granoff. “What’s critical is she’s a real merchant leader. Having a very senior merchant as my partner, with a proven track record of global business development across categories, will be critical to Vince’s future success.”
This appointment follows the departures last month of Vince cofounders Rea Laccone, ceo, and Christopher LaPolice, president, who started the contemporary firm in 2002 and sold it to Kellwood in 2006. LaPolice, who was based in New York, ran sales and marketing, while Laccone, who was headquartered in Los Angeles, was responsible for design, merchandising and production. After they left, Granoff assumed additional responsibility for Vince, overseeing the strategic growth and direction of the brand. At the same time, the company named Doo-Ri Chung as creative director. Chung, who has relocated to Los Angeles, will report to Gregersen. Chung’s first collections will be for holiday 2013, hitting stores in September. The Danish-born Gregersen will be bicoastal, working from Vince’s New York showroom as well as the company’s offices in Los Angeles.
“It’s a fabulous opportunity, and there’s the possibility to work with so much talent,” said Gregersen. She said she looks forward to working on product development, “driven by the strong artistic direction” of the core women’s ready-to-wear and men’s wear, as well as product extensions such as footwear, leather goods and fashion accessories.
“It’s about product and taking the business global. I’ve worked in building Chloé as a global brand. That’s one of the key strategic points to develop Vince as a worldwide leader in the contemporary world,” said Gregersen, who worked in Paris for Chloé for 10 years.
Vince, whose accounts include Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Harrods, Lane Crawford and Harvey Nichols, currently does around $250 million in volume.
Granoff explained how she and Gregersen will divvy up responsibilities.
“Karin will come in to be the president and be my partner in building the brand and building the business. She will oversee design, merchandising, product development, sales and marketing and all creative initiatives. I will continue to oversee retail, and I’ll handle international in partnership with Karin. I’ll have support areas like finance, HR, operations and legal, etc,” said Granoff.
One of the reasons that Granoff was hired last year by Sun Capital Partners, which owns Kellwood, was to accelerate the growth of Vince and maximize its potential as a global brand. There has been speculation that Sun wants to do an initial public offering for Vince. Kellwood is reportedly working with Goldman Sachs as it explores an IPO or a sale of Vince, although it couldn’t be learned if the investment bank has been officially hired. Granoff declined to comment on whether Vince was planning an IPO.
If there were an IPO, financial sources believe it would be a partial spin-off of Vince, which would leave Kellwood holding a significant stake in that business, as well as its other businesses such as Rebecca Taylor, Sag Harbor, Zobha, David Meister and My Michelle. This would allow Vince to float a secondary public offering or two at a later date.
Granoff said Vince continues to perform very well at both retail and wholesale. The company is about to open its 20th freestanding store, in Westport, Conn., at the end of this month. The company is also redesigning its Web site, which should be ready in the fall. Vince doubled its Internet business last year, she said. Right now the brand is opening shops with Holt Renfrew and The Bay in Canada. “We’re focusing at least initially on the U.K., Canada and key markets in Asia,” said Granoff. She said there’s business in Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and China. “Once Karin comes on board, we’ll be refining our international growth plans,” said Granoff.
In other news, Jill Steinberg was promoted to senior vice president, wholesale, with responsibility for the women’s and men’s businesses. She joined as senior vice president of women’s sales last September. She reports to Gregersen.
The Karen Harvey Consulting Group handled the search.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)