PEGASUS ON TOP: Pegasus Apparel Group has its eye on Alber Elbaz. Stephen L. Ruzow, chairman and chief executive officer, and other Pegasus executives were in the audience on Wednesday night to see the new Krizia Top collection, which was designed by Elbaz this season. “Alber invited us to see his show,” Ruzow said. “We liked the collection quite a lot.” Ruzow declined to comment on a deal, but did say he’ll be meeting Elbaz next week in Paris.
Meanwhile, Pegasus is pushing ahead with plans to establish a greater presence in Europe: Ruzow said he intends to open its European branch office in Milan by the end of the year. It will be run by Fabio Guidetti, who was hired recently as managing director of Europe. Previously, he was corporate director of international business development for Nino Cerruti. Ruzow said that the Milan office will coordinate sales efforts for its brands in Europe and the Mideast. But, it’s also got a shopping function. “I’d love to do an acquisition here,” he said. “We’re seriously looking to buy a shoe company. That’s high on our priority list.”
MOVING ON MONTAIGNE: The Calvin Klein flagship store at 47 Avenue Montaigne in Paris will close in January and be folded into the Klein men’s wear store across the street, WWD has learned. And it looks like the Rome-based luxury jeweller Bulgari will be taking over the 6,000-square-foot space. “We’re planning on opening a large store in Paris next year and that’s the space we’re considering,” said a Bulgari spokeswoman.
Alain Adjadj, who has operated Klein’s flagship under license since it opened with great fanfare in 1997, and added the 3,000-square-foot men’s location at 56 Avenue Montaigne in 1999, said there was simply too much space. “There weren’t enough clients to justify the two separate shops,” said Adjadj. “A designer shop here doesn’t need to be as big as one in New York.”
Klein, however, had a different take on the situation.
“We will be operating temporarily out of 56 Avenue Montaigne,” said Jeff Cohen, senior vice president of global retail for the designer. “The search continues for a larger location that can house the women’s, men’s and home collections in an environment like that of the Madison Avenue flagship in New York.” That shop, which opened in 1995, is about 20,000 square feet.
Meanwhile, Adjadj, who has long been vocal about what he described as a less-than-stellar performance at his store, spoke freely about the Klein business. Speculation that one of the Avenue Montaigne locations might shutter has been building since summer. Adjadj said that business for the home collection in the existing shop was close to nil.
Besides New York and Paris, there are also freestanding Calvin Klein Collection stores in Japan, Seoul, York, Dallas, Dubai and St. Moritz. Adjadj operates some 20 designer stores in France and the U.K., including the Dolce & Gabbana store on Avenue Montaigne.
THE ALAIA-BERTELLI DEAL: Patrizio Bertelli has finally come clean about some of his plans for Azzedine Alaia. The Prada chief, who last month announced a vague “partnership agreement” with the Paris-based designer and plans to start an Alaia foundation, also happens to have an option to buy Alaia’s company over the next five years. Bertelli also said that Prada Group would be producing some items for Alaia and that his goal was to develop “a maximum of 30 clients worldwide” for the label. “We want to keep this an atelier business,” he explained. While Bertelli downplayed the possibility of an Alaia accessories line — “Why does Alaia need to do accessories?” — he said a makeup line could be in the future. “Makeup would be interesting; it fits in nicely with his style and is part of his tradition,” Bertelli said. On another note, he added that Prada would have sales of $1.25 billion this year, while the Prada Group would post approximately $1.68 billion in sales.