Trinity Ltd., which owns the Kent & Curwen, Cerruti 1881 and Gieves & Hawkes brands, is shaking up its brands’ creative staffs following the news that David Beckham had signed an exclusive agreement for a multifaceted role with Kent & Curwen.
Simon Spurr, the current creative director of Kent & Curwen, has been tapped as creative director of Gieves & Hawkes, based in London. Jason Basmajian, who had turned around the Gieves & Hawkes brand over the last two years as its chief creative officer, has become chief creative officer of Cerruti 1881, based in Paris, succeeding Aldo Maria Camillo who left at the end of May. Karen Harvey, chief executive officer of Karen Harvey Consulting, is conducting a global search for a new creative director of Kent & Curwen. The moves are effective immediately.
“We believe we have three really powerful brands and all three have the potential to be global brand players in different ways,” said Richard Cohen, ceo of Hong-Kong based Trinity Ltd., in an interview in New York. Prior to joining Trinity in 2014, Cohen was senior vice president of business development at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Cohen believes that the three brands have a competitive edge globally since they target the Chinese consumer. Last year, all three brands generated $350 million in sales, with 90 percent generated in Greater China. He said the Chinese consumer is traveling extensively around the world, especially in Europe and now beginning in North America. “Because we have this very strong connection to them at home, we believe we would have a competitive edge against anybody globally,” said Cohen.
According to Cohen, these moves have been in the works for quite some time. “Jason [Basmajian] has done a fantastic job at Gieves & Hawkes. He’s repositioned the brand. Now we believe his talent lies in engineering a huge Cerruti revamp.” Before joining Gieves & Hawkes in January 2013, Basmajian was artistic director at Brioni for six years. His career started in the U.S. with Donna Karan and Calvin Klein, before moving to Paris to work as creative director of ST Dupont, where he oversaw the launch of ready-to-wear.
While at Gieves & Hawkes, Basmajian reinforced Gieves’ position as a bespoke house, making everything from regimental uniforms for the royal family to three-piece suits for British businessmen. He also channeled the company’s expertise into ready-to-wear and accessories collections, as well as the Web site and marketing.
Spurr, who is English, was named creative director and senior vice president of Kent & Curwen in 2013. He oversaw product design and worked on store development, marketing and other aspects of the brand. Before that, he was a men’s creative consultant at Tommy Hilfiger, and earlier had his own label from 2006 to 2012, building a reputation in the men’s market for his English-inflected tailoring and upscale sportswear. He has also been design director for Ralph Lauren Purple Label and Black Label and has worked at Calvin Klein and Yves Saint Laurent.
“We believe Simon’s training fits perfectly with Gieves & Hawkes,” said Cohen. “Simon made an immediate and lasting impact on our Kent & Curwen brand with his showing at London Men’s Fashion week fall 2014.”
Spurr added, “As a designer of English men’s wear with a strong appreciation of military styling, I’ve been looking forward to making the move over to this historical British military outfitters for some time. Gieves & Hawkes is unsurpassed in its tailoring heritage, and I’m excited to helm this historical English sartorial brand and drive its continued growth worldwide.”
Founded in London in 1771, Gieves & Hawkes is one of Great Britain’s oldest bespoke tailors. In addition to its wholesale distribution, the company has 102 stores worldwide. Based at 1 Savile Row, the company holds three Royal Warrants of Appointment to HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Prince of Wales.
Cerruti was founded in Biella, Italy in 1881 by the Cerruti brothers. Nino Cerruti took up the helm in the 1950s, and in 1967 founded Cerruti 1881. Today the brand has 126 stores and global wholesale distribution.
As part of the agreement with Beckham, the new designer at Kent & Curwen — who is expected to be named by the beginning of 2016 — will work with him to develop his personally branded collection for the company for fall 2016, as well as bring a vision of his or her own to tap into sports-related men’s fashion in China and elsewhere. Beckham is expected to be personally involved in all aspects of the brand’s business, including product development, market expansion, advertising, store design and location.
According to Cohen, Beckham’s role at Kent & Curwen is “more like a partner.
“We’ll create a design team with a creative director. David will sit in on meetings about products and future lines, but he’s not a designer and he doesn’t want to be a designer,” he said.
Kent & Curwen currently operates 102 stores worldwide, in addition to its wholesale distribution. According to Cohen, Kent & Curwen looks to open about 20 stores internationally over the next two to three years. They will be either directly owned or franchised, and among them will be a small number in the U.S., in New York, Miami and Los Angeles. He also sees franchise opportunities in South America, especially Argentina and Brazil.
Trinity reported a 47.3 percent drop in net profits in the first half amid ongoing economic slowdown in China. Net profits were 79 million Hong Kong dollars, or $10.2 million. Trinity said that more than 90 percent of the profit drop was due to the decline in revenue and a swing in unrealized foreign exchange gains and losses. Revenues decreased 5.9 percent to 1.26 billion Hong Kong dollars, or $162.5 million.
David Lipman, the advertising executive, will do the marketing for all three brands. Gieves & Hawkes fall advertising features Jack Huston, an English actor and 1 Savile Row was a key focus. Beckham will be an integral part of Kent & Curwen’s advertising, and Cerruti’s ads will embrace the Italian lifestyle.
Cody Kondo joined Trinity Ltd. as chief merchant for all the lines in September 2014. He was previously senior vice president and general merchandise manager of women’s accessories at Saks Fifth Avenue, prior to which he was Saks’ general merchandise manager of men’s.