PARIS — Signaling big plans for Nina Ricci and a new strategic thrust for the Puig Beauty and Fashion Group, Manuel Puig has been named president of Nina Ricci and charged with launching the French brand into the lucrative accessories business.
"We have all the ingredients to play in the luxury goods arena," Puig told WWD. "I see tremendous potential."
Puig, who has more than 20 years experience in the fragrance industry, will remain vice president of the Spanish, family-owned firm, which also controls Carolina Herrera. But he said he would relocate to Paris and devote 90 percent of his time to Ricci, where he will report to Mario Grauso, president of Ricci parent Puig Fashion Group.
In an interview, Grauso said Puig's appointment comes in tandem with other key hires, including Helene Nguyen-Ban, who becomes Ricci's fashion director, a new post. Nguyen-Ban comes from Louis Vuitton, where she was a collection director.
Grauso also tapped Alain Quillet, who had been Christian Dior's deputy managing director in Europe, to become Ricci's new chief operating officer.
Grauso is also said to be zeroing in on other high-caliber design talents to make Ricci a player in the fast-growing handbag, footwear and jewelry categories. All will report to Ricci's artistic director Olivier Theyskens.
"Olivier began the resurrection, and now it's time to take it to the next place. We're really getting focused on this brand," Grauso said. "Accessories are a big project."
He said the first complete accessories collection would be unveiled to the trade in October in tandem with Ricci's spring 2009 runway collection, although a few styles may be included in a pre-spring line being readied for showing to retailers in July.
Theyskens' ready-to-wear studio already designs and produces some shoes for Ricci, but Grauso stressed there would be dedicated teams for footwear, handbags and jewelry, and that accessories could ultimately account for up to a quarter of the brand's revenues.
Handbags would be positioned in line with other designer collections, with retail prices likely to be in the $900 to $6,000 range, he added.
Puig's arrival should bring some stability to the French brand, which has experienced some management turmoil. Puig succeeds Christophe Hebre, who joined Ricci in 2005 from Rochas.For his part, Puig said he relishes the chance to work hands-on in luxury goods, in close collaboration with Grauso. "We are 90 percent a fragrance group and we can move to be a more balanced luxury goods group," he said.
Thanks to the buzz around Theyskens, and ethereal dresses inspired by the L'Air du Temps bottle, Ricci's fragrance business "is taking off again," Puig added.
Puig Beauty and Fashion Group includes — on the prestige fragrance side — brands such as Carolina Herrera Perfumes, Paco Rabanne, Groupe Nina Ricci, Comme des Garçons Parfums and Prada. On the mass market front there are Myrurgia, Perfumeria Gal, Antonio Puig, Antonio Banderas, Barbie and Adolfo Dominguez. Puig's beauty business generated sales of 929 million euros, or $1.17 billion at average exchange, in 2006. That represented a 4 percent rise on 2005.
Meanwhile, Manuel Puig's immediate priority is Ricci's accessories push and retail expansion.
Freestanding Ricci stores are slated to open this year in Tokyo, Moscow and Dubai, and the Paris flagship on Avenue Montaigne is set for a major renovation, reopening with a new Theyskens concept in July. He noted Ricci would look at opening some U.S. locations in 2009.
From overseeing America’s fastest-growing speciality retailers to codifying cool, WWD talked to the women who are leading the way for the future of beauty. Check out our Instagram Stories to see how these women built today and are creating tomorrow. (📸: @hannah_khymych) #wwdbeauty
For @laperlalingerie's spring 2018 show, the brand chose to host their event at @thevenetianmacao. With Chinese megastars @bingbing_fan and @hubing in attendance, La Perla debuted a rock ‘n’ roll-inspired collection. The show marked the start of Sands Macao Fashion Week, which runs from October 19 to 24 — the city’s first such event. Pictured here are models backstage with glimmering eyes. #wwdfashion (📷: Cheuk-Yin To)
Trending for spring 2018: top stitch design. Gone are the days of stitch just for seams — designers are using the once-minimal detail to create strong decorative elements. (📷: Paola Testa; Styled by @andrew_shang) #wwdfashion
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)