Breaking News | Paulo Melim Andersson out at Chloé

In fashion's latest revolving designer door saga (we've already seen this play out at Vionnet, Ungaro, Nina Ricci, etc.), Chloé has removed Paulo Melim Andersson as Creative Director. Andersson stepped into the role after Phoebe Philo left the Parisian fashion house two years ago. He has been replaced by Hannah MacGibbon who previously worked under Philo. Melim Andersson's ouster should come as no surprise to fashion industry insiders, many of whom have been whispering about significant drops in retail sales and wholesale orders ever since Andersson unveiled his first Chloé collection, which was  a dramatic departure from the floaty feminine styles that propelled the brand back onto the fashion radar. Are we going back to the girly Chloé girl then?…

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BoF Recommends | In the Know: The Classic Guide to Being Cultured and Cool

Even for the most culturally-savvy business types, the world of fashion can be daunting. Everyday, fashion people will mention places, names, books, buildings, restaurants and other references that they assume you must know: Truman Capote. Madeleine Vionnet. Diana Vreeland. Zaha Hadid. The Faena Hotel. Leigh Bowery. Patrick Demarchelier. The Misshapes. Jane Birkin. Matthew Barney. Marcel Breuer. Mies van der Rohe. Steven Meisel. These cultural references form the basis of evaluating and understanding what is going on in fashion today.  So, while  you may not need to have curatorial knowledge of Dior's New Look or be able to map out the influence of Oscar Neimeyer's architecture on fashion, it is still important to have some basic understanding of how all of…

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Escada | In private equity’s crosshairs?

Not long after Valentino Fashion Group was acquired by Permira in 2007, Escada AG is the latest major European fashion company to find itself in the crosshairs of a private equity firm. The German newspaper Handelsblatt is reporting that Apax Partners is considering taking a stake in the the German fashion company -- and possibly looking to execute an outright takeover. Escada's stock lost more than one third of its value in 2007, and another third of value was obliterated in the first few months of 2008, making it a very ripe target for acquisition. But any Escada-turnaround effort backed by private equity will not be easy, even if the price is cheap. Last week, Escada reported that its sales…

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The new icons | La Roitfeld and Queen Agy

Two articles this week gave an inside look into two of the women who are changing the face of fashion. And unlike the mysterious, impenetrable images that helped to create previous fashion icons, these women seem to be comfortable just being themselves, even if it is politically incorrect. Is authenticity the new must-have? The Anti-Anna (New York Magazine) In an unabashedly honest look into one one most important women in fashion, the editor of Paris Vogue, Carine Roitfeld makes no apologies for who she is. Comparison to Anna Wintour aside, we were most intrigued by Ms. Roitfeld's comments on the fashion business, saying "Right now, I think that fashion in the world becomes a bit boring. There is so much…

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Industry chatter | Costello Tagliapietra, Derek Lam and Kim Jones

There are many paths a young fashion designer can take to achieve fame and fortune. But these paths are often meandering and always challenging. It can take many years for a designer to find their way. Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra first made a name for themselves as masters of the jersey dress -- perhaps a bit of niche market, but one that they had down cold.  We met the eccentric and charming duo a couple of years ago when they were first embarking on their careers. We watched as Anna Wintour took a front row seat at their show, signaling the strong support they have from the fashion establishment. At the time, they had started to look for funding,…

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Links | It bags and Whistles

Why It bags are out (Wall Street Journal)Stephanie Solomon of Bloomingdales tells the WSJ that "The 'it' bag isn't important any more. It's all about looking different from your neighbor."  Consumers are looking for something special, unique and exclusive. And, with a recession in the wind, observers are saying people will consume less conspicuously and may not want an instantly identifiable bag. It bags RIP? Jane Shepherdson to Buy Whistles (Catwalk Queen)With a little help from some Icelandic friends, Jane Shepherdson, a former TopShop business dynamo, has become Chief Executive and part-owner of Whistles. Smart move on the part of Baugur who recognised the expertise that Shepherdson could bring to the table and how to keep her there. Fashion Inc…

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Industry chatter | Prada’s IPO

At a time when all fashion advertisements are beginning to look the same, you can always count on Miuccia Prada to keep things interesting. Her new campaign for Spring/Summer 08 reflects the sweet optimism of her collection shown last September in Milan. It could have come right out of A Midsummer Night's Dream with all its nymphs and fairies. Remarking on Prada's dramatic move away from tougher designs in seasons past, Sarah Mower said "when Miuccia is fed up with being perverse in the anarchic-fierce way, she'll change tack yet again and go against the grain by being so sweetly unchallenging you (almost) can't recognize her."  But are things as rosy for Prada on the IPO front? This was the…

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Luxury Outlook | Coping with the downturn

Now that we know that the Luxury industry is not as insulated from the economic downturn as much as many luxury and fashion CEOs would like, what's a brand to do? Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute, is thinking two steps ahead. Yesterday he shared with The Business of Fashion a 7 point plan for coping with the economic malaise that is quickly sweeping across the world. We thought it was compelling and have excerpted the key points here. 1. Eliminate the Hobbies: Renew your focus on what you do best and innovate within those categories. Many luxury brands have entered into categories where they have no expertise because they want to be "lifestyle" brands. Some categoriesare logical extensions…

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Links | Cris Barros, Luxury IPOs and Men’s A/W 2008

Cris Barros: Concrete Plans (Style.com)During our recent trip to South America, we were introduced to designer Cris Barros and her business partner Luiz Felipe. Barros is one of Sao Paulo's hottest designers. This is a piece we wrote for Style.com on her new flagship which opens in March. Fashion Change: Hilfiger's IPO is shelved (Wall Street Journal)Tommy Hilfiger is the first high-profile fashion IPO scheduled for 2008 that has been called off as global economy continues to deteriorate. Will Prada call off it's IPO for the fourth time running? Just last week, DowJones contacted The Business of Fashion to ask our opinions on this very topic. Paris Men's Fashion Week (Men.style.com)We caught the tail end of  Men's fashion week for…

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Valentino | The last word

On the eve of his final couture show held in Paris on Wednesday, Valentino Garavani was telling Italian newspapers that business is ruining the fashion industry and that he wished he had had time to groom a successor before retiring. Earlier this year, Permira, the private equity company, won a battle with The Carlyle Group for control of the Valentino business, which at the time was split up amongst several shareholders who had aligned themselves with different investors, leading to a down-to-the-wire battle for the venerable Italian fashion house. This may explain why Mr Valentino chose to use particularly strong language to describe the state of the fashion industry, telling Italy's Messagero newspaper that: "The world of fashion has now…

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Robert Polet | Gucci’s (real) rock star

Maybe it is the emerging importance of Russian customers that convinced Frida Giannini she should look to Russian rockers to inspire her latest menswear collection for Gucci. Regardless of the source of her inspiration, it would be fair to say that the collection went down with an audible thud. Suzy Menkes of the IHT, Horacio Silva of The Moment, and Tim Blanks of Style.com seemed to be grasping for positive things to say about it. Guy Trebay of the New York Times went even further: There are days in the life of a fashion observer when having a nail driven into one’s skull seems preferable to sitting through another evocation of the so-called rock ’n’ roll style....it seems willfully dated…

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Designer update | Bontoni breaks out

Bontoni, the men's luxury shoe brand featured on the Business of Fashion during September's New York Fashion Week, is breaking out. Lewis Cutillo tells us that the brand has been making great strides, albeit quietly, in the past few months. "We continue to take a quiet and discreet approach to marketing our shoes," says Lewis. "Despite that, or maybe because of it, we are finding a growing number of clients among hedge fund managers, top CEOs, and well known professional athletes and entertainers." The Robb Report recently posted a piece on the budding brand on its New and Noteworthy blog, and several major media outlets have been making inquiries of late, as the word-of-mouth on Bontoni has picked up. However,…

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