April 19 2014

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8 posts tagged "PPR"

PPR Acquires 51 Percent of Christopher Kane


London / Paris – 15 January 2013 – PPR and Christopher Kane jointly announced today that they have signed an agreement by which PPR acquires 51 percent of the luxury designer brand “Christopher Kane” in order to develop the business in partnership with its creator, the Scottish designer Christopher Kane.

And so the speculation finally ended. “It’s quite something,” Christopher Kane said before the announcement today. “But I think I’m going to celebrate tomorrow. It still feels surreal. I’ve been told to stay quiet for so long that I almost feel wrong talking about it.”

“So long” is, in fact, the entire year that Kane was in negotiations with PPR. First contact came from CEO François-Henri Pinault. “I guess he’s always looking out, and he wanted to meet me.” And while the huge process of business and accounts ground on over the course of the next 12 months, rumors flourished, most significantly the one that said Kane would take over from Nicolas Ghesquière at Balenciaga, another hot PPR property. “The Balenciaga thing wasn’t a bad thing,” he conceded, “but I had to make sure I denied that straightaway so that the PPR investment in my business didn’t look like a consolation prize.”

PPR felt right to Kane from the start. “We were a six-and-a-half-year-old independent company which was very cautious about letting people in, but we got to the point where we were really looking for people with the knowledge and expertise to take the business to a bigger arena. People say, ‘PPR?’ I say, ‘Look at the portfolio. Look at the British brands, like Stella and McQueen.’ François wants to nurture the creativity that makes each business unique. He signed McQueen, and the DNA of the brand is still intact. PPR likes to take things step by step. It’s not headfirst. They want to make sure everything’s all right—and they have the patience for it.”

Now, Kane’s own step-by-steps will include the obvious retail expansion. “A shop is a dream, a real stamp of approval,” he says. There are also other logical extensions, like the leather goods he’s never been able to do. And then there’s the stuff you don’t figure in. “Even things like the running of the office during the day. We’ve had to juggle so many other things. We spent more than half the day on paperwork and e-mails, and it was when we left work that we could get creative. Now we’ll be creating 24/7. To be able to do that all the time will be such a luxury.”

Kane has already had a taste of what this intense new freedom will be like. “Even not doing Versace this season, I feel so much better. I did my pre-fall collection in two weeks. It was a great exercise, because it shows you what you can do.” That would suggest he actually responds well to pressure. “Sometimes when you’re rushed, you create your best work,” he agrees. “But it was always really rushed. Now we’ll have time to execute the ideas.” Anyway, the pressure is scarcely off. There’s the show in February, which will now draw even more attention than usual, not just to Kane but to London. The same thing happened to Alexander McQueen in another decade, but one major difference is that there’s no chance Kane will be leaving anytime in the foreseeable future.

Times have changed. Kane proves a designer can dream the grandest dreams without having to leave home (albeit an adopted one) to make them come true. “Success is so powerful,” he says. “We all want to conquer the world. And the world is our oyster with PPR. They’ve got huge resources, huge brains, and I take this as a huge compliment, and a huge security. But I just want to continue with what I’m doing.”

Best of all, the new deal restores a critical balance to Kane’s story. He’d never be where he is now without his sister Tammy, but as the business grew, she took on more and more of the practicalities and had less time for the fun stuff with her brother. “Now she’ll be with me again,” Kane says. And that’s a real happy ending.

Photo: Marcus Tondo/

Balenciaga: What’s China Got To Do With It?


By now, Alexander Wang’s appointment at Balenciaga is old news, but the question of why he was chosen still has the industry buzzing. One argument runs that he’s got a hip young international following and that his contemporary-cool approach to dressing could prove an interesting new direction for the super-luxury brand. (His proven ability to create It bags doesn’t hurt, either.) Another, espoused by Suzy Menkes in the IHT and propelled by Karl Lagerfeld’s recent endorsement, puts the California-born Taiwanese designer’s roots in China at the center of the dialogue.

Should they be? Given luxury fashion’s rapidly expanding consumer base in China, it’s not surprising that many have gravitated toward the latter argument. But that it’s not surprising doesn’t mean that it’s especially logical or fair. Last night, PPR CEO and chairman François-Henri Pinault had his say, in an interview with CBS’ Rebecca Jarvis. “Alexander Wang is young and he has a very universal culture. He is American with Chinese roots. His family is based in Shanghai. He has a very strong talent not only when it comes to accessible product, but his talent could also be adapted for couture at Balenciaga,” he said. When asked if Wang’s family ties were a key factor, he responded with a definitive “No.” “It is a mixture of value that Alexander will bring. It was really [a matter of] let’s find the right talent, the right skills, the right profile for the reality of the brand.”

To see Alexander Wang’s Pre-Fall 2013 collection, new on today, click here.

Photo: Charles Eshelman / FilmMagic

Alexander Wang To Head Balenciaga


Yesterday’s rumor appears to be today’s truth. Though neither Wang nor PPR, the parent company of Balenciaga, have issued any official comment, WWD reports this morning that the New York-based designer’s appointment as creative director of the French label is confirmed. Wang founded his namesake label in 2008. Nicolas Ghesquière, Balenciaga’s outgoing creative director, officially exits the house today.

To see all of Alexander Wang’s collections on, click here.

To see all of Balenciaga’s collections on, click here.

Photo: David X Prutting/

Alexander Wang Said To Be Headed To Balenciaga


According to the New York Times‘ Cathy Horyn, Alexander Wang is the frontrunner to take over at Balenciaga. The move would make a certain amount of sense given that Wang, with his rapidly expanding New York-based line, has shown that he can make the edgy commercial. What then of the rumor, first reported in WWD yesterday, that Balenciaga’s parent company PPR is looking to invest in Christopher Kane’s label? Kane was posited by the Twittersphere as a likely Balenciaga candidate, though he denied it himself. Even after I plied him with several margaritas at a recent London dinner, he insisted he wanted to concentrate on building his own business. If PPR were to invest, it could give credence to the rumor that rival LVMH tycoon Bernard Arnault has struck a deal with outgoing Balenciaga designer Nicolas Ghèsquiere, and PPR wants to strengthen its own stable as much as possible. Along with the news today that J.W. Anderson will be doing a capsule collection for Kane’s former boss Donatella Versace at Versus, this could be a rare case of designer shuffling where everyone turns out to be a winner.

Photo: Monica Feudi/

A Wild Night In London, When Fashion’s Finest Party At The Zoo


While Americans were talking turkey over the weekend, the Brits had other animals in mind—like cheetahs, for example. They were among the guests (albeit caged) at a dinner and auction at one of the city’s more unusual party venues: the London Zoo. Proceeds from the evening, cohosted by sprinter Usain Bolt and PPR’s Jochen Zeitz, went to the Zoological Society of London and Zeitz’s own foundation.

In his off hours, Zeitz, the Swahili-speaking, monastery-dwelling CEO of PPR’s Sport & Lifestyle division, devotes his time—and funds—to conservation and community-building efforts, racking up accolades like the FT‘s Strategist of the Year and Germany’s Federal Cross of Merit along the way. If Bolt—the Zeitz Foundation’s ambassador for culture—is the world’s fastest man, Zeitz may be the greenest.

Friends from the office, so to speak—the likes of Stella McCartney, with husband Alasdhair Willis (above, with Zeitz and Bolt), Suzy Menkes, and Ozwald Boateng—came by to show their support, and several PPR brands had contributed auction items. Among them were a dress from Sarah Burton’s first McQueen collection, a pair of Bolt’s running shoes (he is sponsored by Puma), and a gown from a fellow environmentalist, Vivienne Westwood. A surprise lot from Sir Richard Branson was announced to the cheers of the crowd: a flight to Branson’s Necker Island to run 100 meters against Sir Richard himself. It went for £30,000 to an anonymous bidder. Racing Bolt, on the other hand, still requires passing Olympic trials.

Photo: Courtesy Photo