ARNAULT EXTENDS MCQUEEN’S CONTRACT

Byline: Sarah Raper

PARIS — Alexander McQueen is getting a big vote of confidence at Givenchy.
Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, told WWD Friday that he was extending McQueen’s contract by at least three years, deflating rumors that the house might let the outspoken, often outrageous designer go before his contract ends next year.
“I give him my full support,” said Arnault as he toured the Christian Dior flagship store, which reopens Tuesday after an ambitious renovation (see story, page 10). “The management of Givenchy — with my blessing — is negotiating to prolong his contract by three to five years.”
McQueen said through a spokeswoman that he met with Arnault last month and plans to accept the extension.
“He really came here to build something, and he has been hurt by rumors that he was not staying,” the spokeswoman said, adding that the designer’s original contract was signed in November 1996 for two years.
There has been much speculation about McQueen’s stint at Givenchy, and it spiked following negative reviews of his second couture show in July. The word in Paris was that Arnault was unhappy.
But on Friday Arnault insisted that he was delighted with McQueen and pleased with sales of his ready-to-wear and couture.
“There is a very strong connection between Alexander and Givenchy. He has a sense of cut that is exceptional,” Arnault said.

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