Mario Grauso isn’t having much of a September holiday.
This story first appeared in the September 16, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Monday was his swan song as president of Carolina Herrera Ltd. and Puig Fashion Group, but by Tuesday morning he was already present and accounted for at Vera Wang’s runway show.
Industry sources claim Grauso will be joining Vera Wang in “a major leadership role” within the next few days to head up the designer’s business. In doing so, he would free up Wang to have more time to focus on the creative side as opposed to the business side. Wang’s business includes ready-to-wear, bridal, fragrance, an exclusive label for Kohl’s, stationery and a bevy of other products.
Grauso declined to comment on his career plans Tuesday, as was the case Monday at Herrera’s runway show. Executives at Vera Wang also declined comment.
Some credit Grauso with amping up Herrera’s designer ties to Hollywood, helping to turn celebrities such as Renée Zellweger into die-hard fans. Given that, there is speculation he could do the same with Vera Wang.
Last fall, Susan Sokol exited Vera Wang as president of apparel to join J.Mendel as president, chief operating officer and a member of the board. Grauso’s presumed post is believed to be more extensive.
During her four-year run at Vera Wang, Sokol played an integral role in transforming what was then largely a bridal business into a fashion brand with designer rtw and sportswear. She also helped develop the contemporary Lavender label a few years ago. Wang is taking a breather from Lavender for the spring season while it is repositioned.
Back at Puig, a search for Grauso’s successor as president of Carolina Herrera is under way, but in the meantime, Marc Puig has assumed those responsibilities. Versace North America’s president and chief operating officer Patrick Guadagno’s decision to attend Herrera’s show raised eyebrows, but he insisted he still has his current job.