Doug Williams has been named chief executive officer of HMX LLC, the successor of Hartmarx Corp., where he has assumed the top job only three weeks after joining the firm. In early September, Williams was hired as the company’s president and chief operating officer. The changes are effective immediately.
“Our intent when we brought Doug on board was for him to assume this expanded role as soon as possible,” said Nitin Kasliwal, chairman of HMX Group and vice chairman of SKNL, an Indian textile and apparel company which, along with Emerisque Brands, purchased Hartmarx out of bankrupcy. “He has hit the ground running and is the right player to help us face the challenges of this turnaround in a difficult retail environment.”
Williams takes the reins from Ajay Khaitan, who has served as HMX’s head executive and vice chairman since Aug. 7, when Emerisque Brands, the private equity group Khaitan co-founded, and SKNL acquired most of the assets of Hartmarx Corp., including the Hickey Freeman, Hart Schaffner Marx, Monarchy Collection and Misook brands.
“The positive response to Doug has been immediate and electric,” said Khaitan, who will remain vice chairman of the HMX Group and will be based in London. “I am delighted that we are able to initiate this transition so quickly and happy we’ve got an outstanding leader in place for the long term.”
The news is not a total surprise. Rumblings began last week that HMX would name a new ceo, possibly from within the company’s ranks. Williams, an industry veteran with 25 years experience in the retail, wholesale and licensing arenas — including a 17-year run at Polo Ralph Lauren, where he rose to group president — was seen as a likely choice.
“Over the course of the last several weeks I’ve met with most of our customers and all of our employees discussing the tremendous opportunity we have in front of us,” said Williams. “We will deliver on our promises to them. I have no doubt we will restore our iconic brands to their rightful status and grow our businesses to their true potential.”
HMX LLC is the new corporate umbrella for the brands formerly managed by Hartmarx Corp., which filed for bankruptcy court protection early this year.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast