Valentino: Fashioning change from private equity

This week's Economist ominously warns of "The Trouble with Private Equity" at a time when many in the fashion world are wondering how the infusion of private capital will impact their industry. In the last month alone, La Perla, Samsonite and Valentino have all been snapped up by private equity funds. Just today, The Sunday Times broke the news that Prada has also been in talks with private investors. (Not surprisingly, Prada has denied these reports, but it is not hard to see why this would be a natural option for Patrizio Bertelli, especially given several failed attempts at taking Prada public.) The recent investment exuberance around fashion brands is a dramatic departure from the stance that many professional investors…

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Haute Couture: A premature death?

Merrill Lynch and Cap Gemini issued the 2007 edition of their annual World Wealth Report last week and the Financial Times and other media took notice, remarking on the dramatic growth of high-net worth individuals and the risky investment strategies that have helped make the world's rich even richer (subscription required). And then, today's WWD reported on the dramatic rise in Haute Couture sales experienced by houses from Dior to Chanel to Givenchy. Was Haute Couture's death knell premature? Conventional wisdom says that the Haute Couture lines of famous Parisian fashion houses are more like publicity machines and creative R&D playgrounds. For the price of  a collection of  hand-made, intricately designed dresses, the maisons of Paris get millions of dollars…

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