CASTRETTE DI VILLORBA, Italy — Luciano Benetton is back in full force, and he knows what he wants.“We are confident, we are working and we know the turnaround won’t be fast, but we hope we will reach that level that we deserve,” said the entrepreneur, 82, in a rare public appearance on Friday. “I am back as representative of the family, flanked by good managers, but the time of the managers is over.”Although the former chairman of the family-owned group retired in April 2012 and no longer has any operative role, he has decided to take matters into his own hands and has become newly involved in United Colors of Benetton after years of declining sales. Revenues fell 15.4 percent to 1.37 billion euros in 2016, from 1.62 billion euros in 2014.The entrepreneur is behind Oliviero Toscani’s own return to the group and, on Friday, Benetton showed his support to the photographer by attending the official launch of the new course of Fabrica, the think tank created by the latter in 1994. The two men famously collaborated for years on controversial ad campaigns in the Eighties and Nineties, and Toscani photographed a new communication campaign for the brand that bowed in December, showing a primary school class made up of a multiracial group of children.Wearing his staple rounded glasses and a sage-green overcoat over white pants, Benetton on Friday said it would take at least a year to see the results of the changes in production, distribution and communication that he is spearheading. “It’s an intense process and we are fine-tuning the direction,” he explained calmly in his gentlemanly way, bulky bodyguards at his sides as TV crews and the press angled to catch his remarks after taking the stage with Toscani.He jokingly confessed he “was better before, when I didn’t have these problems,” but he was nonetheless focused and expressed hope things could be turned around. He said the company is mulling bringing back production to Europe and North Africa, among other issues. Asked about whether manufacturing company Olympias would also return in-house, Benetton said he did not know. Seeking to reach out to the brand’s customers, he said the group is also working on improving its network of stores. “Color is missing,” he said simply about one of the main issues.Toscani, who is back collaborating with the Italian fashion group after 17 years, has lost no time. After revealing the new communication campaign in December, the photographer has mapped out plans to relaunch Fabrica and Friday kicked off with an afternoon of music, photography and art.“I have time, but I don’t want to lose any time. What is done, is done. There is no nostalgia in this, we don’t want to relaunch, redo or anything of the sort,” said Toscani in his usual, no-nonsense way at the Tadao Ando-designed headquarters. “Fabrica will be the place to go, to travel to, just like Paris or New York.”There are no rules, he added, since "we don’t really know yet where we are going" and the goal is to “always renovate,” in a quest for “extreme research of new talents and new collaborators. One comes here to learn from intelligent, creative and talented people — forget the traditional schools.”During the opening event, Toscani underscored that Fabrica “is an integral part of the company, because United Colors of Benetton is the first that will use this space. No other company has this platform. We seek and need talent,” he said. Turning to Benetton, he said: “I have to thank this boy, who is the youngest of them all — and is also a Martian.”Named Fabrica Circus 24/7 x52, the project is an arena open to the public that celebrates imagination, a cultural point of reference to meet international artists and professionals, a Renaissance-like location that stimulates discussion and inspires questions. It will offer a wide range of events throughout the year, cycles of conferences, performances, workshops, concerts and exhibitions. Among them, four multidisciplinary seasonal festivals, the first of which will run March 23 to 25. Fabrica will also launch Daily Colors, evolving into an online daily the storied print magazine first launched in 1991 that was eventually published every two months. Toscani has tapped a new team including Michel Mallard and Alex Marashian to mold Colors.Asked about Luciano Benetton’s involvement, Toscani said “he is fundamental, the motor, the brain” behind the changes being put in motion to turn around the business. “We are working for United Colors of Benetton and we need to create wealth, but also beauty, magic in this location, all that has vanished.”He praised Benetton for not being simply focused on the bottom line. Opening Fabrica to the public is a sign of generosity, he contended, but admitted that “we want to create interest, we want for the press to talk about this.” Toscani has high hopes for the entrepreneur’s return to the company. “I trust him to fix it all, he is calm in his anger,” he said.The first exhibitions being held at Fabrica include works by German photographer Daniel Stier, who investigates the relation between human beings and technology; Noa Jansma, a Dutch student, founder of the Instagram account @dearcatcallers, with the aim of creating awareness about the “objectification of women” harassed in daily life; Mexican musician Jorge Govea, aka Wakal, who lives in Paris and samples the sounds of the streets, mixing them with several rhythms and electronic genres, and the Venetian duo Ackeejuice Rockers, or King P, and Ali Selecta, DJ producers discovered by Kanye West who have collaborated with the likes of Sean Paul, Nicki Minaj and Guè Pequeno, among others.
EXCLUSIVE: Two and half months after John Targon, cofounder and codesigner of Baja East, was hired as creative director of the contemporary division at Marc Jacobs, he has left the company, WWD has learned. Marc Jacobs International, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, confirmed Targon’s departure in a statement: “John Targon is a talented designer and we appreciate the work he has done here. Ultimately working together did not make sense for the brand and we wish him the best.” Read the story by @jessiredale, link in bio. #wwdnews
@theluxurycollection is officially launching a collection, tapping Sofia Sanchez de Betak for the capsule. Over 30 styles will be featured in the Chufy x The Luxury Collection, debuting next month at Bergdorf Goodman, The Webster, FiveStory and more. De Betak, known as “@chufy,” drew inspiration for the collection from her trips to Japan in the past year #wwdfashion
@lhd, founder and CEO of @thewebster, has teamed up with @lebonmarcherivegauche for the European launch of her ready-to-wear line, LHD. The launch will come with an exclusive pop-up opening today that’s set to run through May 20. Located on the second floor, it carries her debut Miami-themed resort collection, launched in November as see-now-buy-now. #wwdfashion
@longchamp, which marks its 70th anniversary this year, just opened its biggest U.S. store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. On the lower level there’s a floor-to-ceiling display of the brand’s iconic Le Pliage bag – in all of its different colors, shapes and sizes. Customers can also have their product personalized in-store by imprinting names, initials or emblems. #wwdfashion (📷: @ericmtownsend)
“Whenever I’m in that place of sound and music, I don’t have fear or nervousness…This album has a lot of themes of courage and boldness and I want to be the soundtrack for people’s lives. I’ll be so happy if [my songs] evoke strength in people, which I know music has done for me,” says @kimbramusic of her newest album “Primal Heart.” The New Zealand-born singer sat down with WWD to talk about her music, newest tour and connecting with hear fans — read more on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
Luxury handbag resale company @rebagofficial is planning to sell a rare collectible for $70,000: the @hermes White Crocodile Himalayan Birkin. The exclusive Birkin sold for about $100,000 in 2008, when @davidbeckham bought one for his wife @victoriabeckham to add to her collection. Read more about the rare Birkin on WWD.com #wwdaccessories
With her costume pearl necklace and what-you-see-is-what-you-get style, Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday at age 92, was a straight-shooter from start to finish.
Born Barbara Pierce in New York City, Bush served as the 37th first lady, as well as the country’s second lady from 1981 to 1989. In addition to being part of the longest presidential marriage — 73 years — Bush also had the unlikely distinction of having one son, George W., become the 43rd president and another son, Jeb, run unsuccessfully in 2016. Having served as second lady during the Reagan administration’s two terms and lived all over the world during her own husband’s ascending political career, Barbara Bush made it clear that literacy — not fashion — was her priority. Read more from Rosemary Feitelberg’s obituary on the late First Lady in WWD.com, link in bio. #barbarabush #wwdnews
Western and ’90s trends have influenced denim for fall 2018. Think raw, dark and coated jeans mixed with bold prints and tough leather. #trendtuesdays #wwdfashion (Styled by @thealexbadia;📷: @ryanplett)