Christian Audigier

Christian Audigier wants to sell his company and is in talks with private equity firms, apparel manufacturers, and European firms about buying the business.

AUDIGIER’S EXIT PLAN: Christian Audigier wants to sell his company and is in talks with private equity firms, apparel manufacturers in California, and European firms — more than 15 in all — about buying the business, which encompasses 10 brands and includes his namesake label and the tattoo-inspired line Ed Hardy. Audigier said he may sell the brands separately. One thing is certain: He’s asking for at least $700 million for the entire company, a high price in these straitened times. With 92 licensees, the Culver City, Calif.-based firm expects wholesale sales to more than double to $300 million this year from a year ago. Audigier couldn’t provide estimates for the retail operations, which include 23 stores he owns and 42 stores run by franchisees. Having already signed leases for 12 new stores next year, he said denim veteran Hubert Guez recently joined the company as chief executive officer.

This story first appeared in the October 16, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

KARL IN MOTION: Karl Lagerfeld is touching down in New York this weekend along with Chanel’s Mobile Art. And he has no intention of standing still. The multitasking designer, who is also slated to present an award to the Costume Institute’s Harold Koda at Fashion Group International’s annual Night of the Stars, will be bringing his cameras, too. He said he plans to shoot the Fendi and Karl Lagerfeld eyewear campaigns in Manhattan before heading to Vermont for Chanel and Lagerfeld ready-to-wear shoots. While in Vermont, Lagerfeld will discover the 1840 house he just bought, and a landscape he said reminds him of his original stomping grounds in northern Germany. Then it’s back to Paris to work on the Paris-Moscow collection, a luxury pre-fall line for Chanel made with the couture ateliers Chanel owns. It is to be presented on Dec. 3 at the Theatre du Ranelagh in Paris. “I’m mixing constructivism with folklore and Imperial Russia,” he said. Lagerfeld will also don a director’s cap for the silent movie he’s producing to open the show, cast with some regulars in his entourage, including Lady Amanda Harlech and model Brad Kroenig. Expect a fast-paced, laugh-packed and loose interpretation of Gabrielle Chanel’s adventures between 1913 and 1923.

REYES BRANCHING OUT: Look for lingerie in the next fall collection by Brian Reyes. “It would be a good thing to expand the brand,” Reyes said Wednesday during a trunk show of his spring dresses and sportswear at Stanley Korshak in Dallas. “The collection is very diaphanous and it lends itself to lingerie.”

Reyes plans to keep the line in house. “We’ll do lace camis, boy shorts and kimono robes in a boudoir sense — not a traditional satin robe,” he said. Reyes also is designing four handbags made with crocodile skins from Colombia, where his parents were born and where he spent part of his childhood. “We’re looking at marbleized skins,” he said. In business three years, Reyes has 60 accounts.

ROWLEY’S ART: Cynthia Rowley is presenting her work at a show, but don’t expect there to be a runway. Two of Rowley’s drawings are included in a show at the new Collette Blanchard Gallery, which is opening its doors for the first time tonight. Rowley’s pieces are part of the “Belle du Jour” exhibition, which focuses on female artists, and also includes works by the like of E.V. Day, Mickalene Thomas and Langdon Graves. It’s not the only time she will herself on display, so to speak. On Monday, Rowley will once again participate in Celebrity Charades, in aid of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Labyrinth Theater Company. Others participating in the competition include David Schwimmer, Edie Falco, Ana Ortiz, Kristen Wiig, Rachel Dratch and Alan Cumming.

BRIT AWARDS: The British Fashion Council has revealed the nominees for this year’s Swarovski-sponsored British Fashion Awards, which take place Nov. 25. Among the nominees in the 10 categories are Jimmy Choo, Agent Provocateur and Paul Smith for the Designer Brand award, while Christopher Bailey for Burberry, Paul Smith and Richard James have been nominated for the Menswear Designer award. Red Carpet Designer nominees are Matthew Williamson, Giles Deacon and Stella McCartney. Agyness Deyn, Jourdan Dunn and Lily Donaldson are up for model of the year — which makes it a second time around for Deyn, who scooped up the prize last year. Meanwhile, Pat McGrath, founder and editor in chief of i-D magazine Terry Jones and photographer Tim Walker have been nominated for the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator, which acknowledges creativity within the fashion industry. In addition, the BFC will present one designer with its award for Outstanding Achievement in Fashion Design on the night of the awards.

GOING J.M. WESTON: Out to promote the creative possibilities of its bespoke service, luxury French men’s footwear brand J.M. Weston has asked five design talents to customize their dream shoe, including Frank Gehry, Kris Van Assche and Martin Szekely. The results, which will be available to order, will be unveiled in an exhibition dubbed “Moods” today at the brand’s headquarters on Avenue D’Iéna, ending Nov. 13. Styles include a triple-soled, platform Derby with playful perforations by Van Assche, and two booties by Gehry, one with a row of buttons curving up its side

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