Peltz is the billionaire founder and chief executive officer of Trian Fund Management, an activist hedge fund, and his reported investment gave Unilever’s share price a much-needed boost on the London Stock Exchange earlier this week.
The corporate giant, owner of brands ranging from Hellmann’s and Ben & Jerry’s to Dove and Dermalogica, has had a tough 10 days following a failed series of bids for GlaxoSmithKline’s Consumer Health business; shareholder anger about the proposed takeover; and a collapse in its share price. Earlier this week Unilever unveiled a major organizational and management restructuring in an effort to calm market nerves about the direction in which the company is headed.
The markets applauded Peltz’s moves, with the share price rising 6 percent on Monday after many news outlets reported on Trian’s investment. Trian and Unilever have both declined to comment, and have not confirmed the investment.
The shares have settled down slightly since then and are currently trading at 38.37 pounds, down around 3.3 percent over the past month.
This isn’t the first time that Peltz, whose daughter Nicola, an actress and director, is set to marry Beckham later this year, has swooped on a consumer giant, or a major beauty company.
Peltz served on the board of Procter & Gamble from 2018 until August 2021, working alongside the CEO, and management and ultimately improving the conglomerate’s fortunes. According to some media reports, Peltz and his team could easily take a similar approach at Unilever.
Jefferies said in a report this week that Trian’s investment is likely to be “materially positive” for the Unilever shares as the fund has proven over time to be “notably well-informed analysts of their portfolio companies and ‘constructivist’ in approach.”
The bank said that Trian is likely to push Unilever to make some quick brand disposals in the slow-growing foods business, or split the food and personal care divisions altogether, via a sale or a spin-off.
Both moves — not to mention having an activist investor breathing down management’s back — would pile even more pressure on Unilever’s CEO Alan Jope, who was ultimately responsible for the fumbled GSK bid.
All of these changes will likely unfurl as Peltz gets ready to walk Nicola down the aisle in her Valentino wedding dress designed by Pierpaolo Piccioli.
The wedding has been a long time coming. The couple revealed their engagement in 2020, and have been working on projects together in the meantime.
As reported, they appeared alongside one another in Pepe Jeans’ “Just Us” fall campaign, which shows the loved-up couple smooching and clowning around, and wearing denim and eco-leather pieces.
Nicola, whose mother is Claudia Heffner Peltz, a former model, is best known for her roles in “Transformers: Age of Extinction” and the TV series “Bates Motel.” She stars in, and directs, the upcoming film “Lola James.”
The Peltzes and the Beckhams certainly have a lot to talk about, including life in the limelight and, of course, the beauty business.
With Peltz presumably ready to roll up his sleeves and scrutinize the likes of Dove, Pond’s and Olly chewable gummy vitamins, he can most certainly consult Brooklyn’s mother about Victoria Beckham Beauty, and father David about his Coty, Inc. fragrance deals and House 99, Beckham’s grooming brand with L’Oréal. And a new beauty dynasty is born. — SAMANTHA CONTI
COLOR POP: Berlin-based brand Rianna + Nina opened their doors to a boutique in the heart of Paris on Wednesday.
Housed in a former art gallery, the bright minimalist bones showcase the duo’s colorful maximalist style, which has been featured on “And Just Like That” and “Emily in Paris” in recent weeks.
“It’s the first time we can really show our Rianna and Nina world, because what we were missing so far — of course we love to work with Bergdorf’s, A’maree’s and all our retailers — but it’s always just one rack,” Nina Kuhn told WWD.
The former fashion executive is one half of the dynamic duo that created the line eight years ago in Berlin, along with costume designer and vintage collector Rianna Kounou.
The brand has previously hosted its Paris Fashion Week showroom on the square. “Here we can do whatever we want. We don’t have to wait for buyers, we can just do it and present it. The space gives us more flexibility to try new things,” Kuhn added. “The client cannot just explore our fashion, but it was really important to also show a variety of products and to have this cabinet de curiosités so they can always find something new, little bracelets, scarves, belts.”
A wall of windows grants expansive views on the Palais Royale — the boutique has the biggest retail space on the square — let in lots of light, while the eclectic mix of objects adds a shock of energy that catches the eye of passersby.
The Rianna + Nina ethos is upcycling vintage finds, but luxe-cycling might be a better term for their one-of-a-kind wares, which include a jacket crafted from a vintage rug from Uzbekistan, a Japanese kimono and Chanel bouclé brought together on 120-year-old machines. The eclectic mix makes for an electrifying piece.
The cuff bracelets made with vintage brooches and limited-edition bags featured on the “Sex and the City” revival are on display, alongside odd objects picked up on their travels — old sewing bobbins in every color of the rainbow, for example.
Amongst the other goodies: Handwoven throw blankets from Greece, chunky vintage jewelry form Dior, Lacroix and Yves Saint Laurent, Greek wedding pins, vintage silk scarves, an ancient table runner transformed into an embroidered evening wrap.
The brand’s bestselling BonBon bags — updated with woven handles — are on display, and they created a tote exclusively for the store featuring handmade Uzbek tapestry lined in their unique prints. Both the recent collection and their Archive collection, which features mix-and-match fabrics from past seasons and reproductions of some of their most popular prints, is on offer.
Kounou and Kuhn envision adding pieces to a collection of ever-changing artworks. For the launch, Portuguese artist Bela Silva created sculptures and planters for the shop, and Kounou’s own hand-painted lamps are also on display.
As for making their new home in the City of Light instead of their home base of Berlin? “Berlin is not as international as the brand is. We love Paris, we come here often, we have our showroom here for fashion week,” said Kuhn. “When we talked about having a store, we always said, ‘It has to be Paris.’” — RHONDA RICHFORD
LOCAL HEROES: Few brands localize their communication strategy like Prada for China.
After receiving backlashes last January as former brand ambassador Zheng Shuang was caught in a highly publicized child dispute storm, the brand has recalibrated its approach to celebrity endorsement in the Chinese market by working with top athletes alongside leading entertainers.
Just weeks after announcing Chinese table tennis player and Olympic champion Ma Long as a brand ambassador ahead of its men’s fall 2022 show, the Milanese fashion brand revealed its fashion spring 2022 campaign — appearing on the social media platform Douyin, TikTok’s China version — featuring four acclaimed Olympics athletes who altogether represent a wide range of beauty standard.
Directed by former WWD columnist Hung Huang, the campaign features Tokyo Olympics shot put gold medalist Gong Lijiao, who wore a bespoke red ensemble from the new season; marathon runner Li Zhixuan; China women’s national water polo team member, Xiong Dunhan, and Tokyo Olympics basketball bronze medalist Yang Shuyu.
Huang said on Weibo that this project has been a dream come true moment for her. “I have never thought that now that my magazine [iLook] is gone, I would be able to participate in a project that I have always wanted to do, starring a group of Chinese female athletes and showcasing their most beautiful, moving and awesome traits.”
Prada has also been doubling down its commitment to TikTok. Lyst moved Prada into the top three spot in its latest quarterly hottest brands ranking, citing its rise in popularity for the viral bucket hat challenge on TikTok.
Major TikTok stars Brent Rivera, Larray, Noah Beck, Blake Gray, Amelie Zilber and Lexi Rivera were given the best front row seats at the brand’s fall 2022 men’s wear show, right next to established journalists. — TIANWEI ZHANG
GOING LIVE: Marine Serre is honing her messaging.
The eco-futuristic designer launches campaign imagery for her spring 2022 collection as well as a revamped website Thursday.
The campaign continues the theme of the “Ostal 24” film created for her spring 2022 collection, presented in September, featuring images of “a community that inhabits a remote place framed in a time that has no metrics.” The photos feature familiar elements of domesticity, yet have a disquieting feel.
“I want people to feel the beauty and the simplicity of being together and finding joy in cooking, eating, dancing, practicing yoga,” said Serre, who in the past favored shows with an eco-apocalyptic theme. She continued, “and at the same time recognize that every day we make choices that have an impact, so how can we be more responsible in the decisions we make?”
The website, designed by Paris creative agency Period, aims to offer a more inclusive approach and more prominence for the label’s “regenerated” products, which use upcycled fabrics, and feature strongly in the spring offering.
“We conceived our new website using our core values as our inspirations,” said Serre. “Upcycling was one of the main elements we wanted to build this shopping experience around, creating new ways of diving into the collections and allowing our community to discover unique pieces.” — ALEX WYNNE
REUNITED: Move over Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski — two other former teammates are joining forces again.
Michael Strahan is partnering with his former New York Giants colleague Carl Banks on an exclusive Super Bowl LVI collection that brings together their two apparel brands: MSX by Michael Strahan and Starter.
Strahan had worked with G-III, Starter’s manufacturing partner, in 2020 on a collection designed to honor the NFL’s 100th season. The success of that collection led the companies to expand the offering in 2021 to include apparel for all 32 NFL teams. Now Starter has jumped into the action, working with Strahan on an MSX x Starter collaboration.
“The Super Bowl was a significant moment in my career, and since Los Angeles is hosting this year, we knew as a brand that we wanted to go even bigger with our NFL licensed game day apparel,” said Strahan. “We designed loud and proud prints and patterns to represent our excitement.”
Banks, a former Giants linebacker, is president of G-III Apparel Group’s Sports Licensing Division. Strahan was a defensive end for the Giants for 15 seasons and has parlayed his on-field success into a multipronged career in entertainment and fashion. He created his Michael Strahan Collection in 2015 and expanded into activewear, MSX, the next year.
“Starter has been a pioneer of sports and fashion within the retail industry for decades,” said Banks. “Bringing this unique collaboration to one of the biggest sports stages in the world with my former teammate and now business partner is an absolute thrill for me and G-III.”
The collection will include limited-edition varsity jackets, which will retail for $195 to $220, track jackets ($135 to $155), hoodies ($120), T-shirts ($50 to $75) and women’s varsity jackets ($185). Curated by New Jersey-based graphic artist Brian Begley, the collection was designed to evoke the Los Angeles sunset and Hollywood skyline.
It will be available beginning Feb. 5 at Sheikh, Fanatics/NFL Shop, Dick’s Sporting Goods and at The NFL Experience in Los Angeles. — JEAN E. PALMIERI