Canadian fashion executive Daniel Lalonde has left Paris-based contemporary fashion group SMCP (Sandro, Maje, Claudie Pierlot) where he served as chief executive for 8 years. Isabelle Guichot, a former Kering executive who was tapped by SMCP to helm its Maje unit in 2017, has been promoted to become the group’s new CEO, effective immediately.
From Lalonde’s appointment in 2014 through the pandemic, SMCP’s revenues more than doubled as the company opened hundreds of international stores to reduce its dependence on the French market. A sale to Chinese textile group Shandong Ruyi in 2016 was followed by an initial public offering on the Paris Bourse the next year.
But SMCP’s historic focus on apparel (as opposed to leather goods) and on selling in its brick-and-mortar stores have hamstrung its expansion since the coronavirus crisis, and the group is struggling to climb back to pre-pandemic levels. The company reported second-quarter sales of €229 million ($272 million), down 14 percent from the same quarter in 2019.
Lalonde is headed to Design Holding, a group of Italian design brands founded in 2018 backed by the Bonomi family’s Investindustrial fund and Carlyle Group. In addition to selling B&B Italia sofas and Flos lamps, Design Holding recently forged a joint venture with LVMH’s Fendi to take over the license for producing the Roman brand’s furniture and homeware lines.
The current wave of mergers and listings is expected to grow as Italy’s last remaining luxury independents face pressure to bounce back from the pandemic while juggling succession planning and digital transformation.
Editor’s Note: This article was revised on 4th August 2021. An earlier version of this article misspelled the name of Investindustrial’s founder. Investindustrial was founded by Andrea Bonomi.