MILAN — OTB has raised its stake in the Viktor & Rolf brand to 70 percent from 51 percent. The remaining 30 percent stake will be equally split between the Dutch designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren, who founded the brand in 1993.
“Viktor and Rolf are two unique voices of international fashion. Their creativity, surprising and thought-provoking, lives on consistent and immediately recognizable aesthetic codes. We believed in them 10 years ago, we believe in them even more today,” said Renzo Rosso, president of OTB, which is the parent company of Diesel, Maison Margiela, Marni, Paula Cademartori, Staff International and Brave Kid.
While the amount of the transaction was not disclosed, it is part of OTB’s industrial development plan to channel investments of more than 200 million euros in the next three years, as reported, and to accelerate the growth of the brands in its portfolio.
Last month, the Italian fashion group bought a stake in Amiri, the Los Angeles-based brand founded by Mike Amiri.
In 2018, OTB revenues totaled 1.44 billion euros, a 5.2 percent decrease compared with 1.52 billion euros in 2017, impacted by the performance of the Diesel brand, the group’s main business. Reporting its 2018 figures in April, OTB emphasized the strength of its net financial position, totaling 111 million euros, up 32 percent compared with 2017, paired with a solid net equity standing at 885 million euros. Commenting on the 2018 performance, chief executive officer Ubaldo Minelli told WWD that last year was one of “voluntary resetting,” and that there could be some M&A activity ahead.
While the Italian company is going through a reorganization, which includes Diesel USA filing for Chapter 11, Minelli said “specific measures [are] taken to create the right conditions for a sustainable development of our business. OTB has a clear vision of its long-term objectives, a strategy focused on achieving them, and an important investment plan to accelerate the growth of the brands currently in our portfolio. Our net equity and current financial position will allow us to continue to explore new opportunities.” As reported, OTB had been eyeing an investment in the Roberto Cavalli company as Staff International is Just Cavalli’s licensee, but the Florence-based brand was eventually sold to the Dubai-based Damac real estate developer.
In 2015, Horsting and Snoeren decided to halt their women’s and men’s ready-to-wear business to concentrate on couture, fragrances and special projects.
Prized for their experimental approach to fashion and reverence for glamour, Horsting and Snoeren started collaborating after graduating from the Netherlands’ Arnhem Academy. They shot to prominence in 1993 by winning the International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères, France. Two of fashion’s consummate showmen, Snoeren and Horsting have incorporated elements such as fog, pyrotechnics and scaffolding into their shows.
Viktor & Rolf’s Mariage collection is available at top wedding dress retailers in Europe, North America, Asia, Russia and the Middle East. A collection called Tulle recently premiered as original pop-ups in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Shanghai, opening the way for the Asian market.
After entering the fragrance scene in 2005 with Flowerbomb, Viktor & Rolf last year launched an e-commerce platform dedicated to its signature scents under L’Oréal.
Recent agreements include a new licensing deal with Ego Eyewear and the launch of an exclusive lingerie collection with French brand Aubade, already available in selected boutiques. For e-tailer Zalando, the duo created a Re:Cycle collection.
In 2018, Viktor & Rolf celebrated 25 years in fashion with projects such as the “Viktor&Rolf Fashion Artists” retrospective at the Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam, and the launch of “Cover Cover,” a Phaidon book.