Saturday, June 23, 2018

Dries van Noten Sells a Majority Stake in His Business to Puig, Presents His First Menswear Collection After the Announcement // Spring 2019

For the first time in its 108-year history, Chanel published its earnings. The French brand is privately-owned and famously guarded about revenues. For 2017, they posted revenues of $9.62 billion, an 11 percent rise from a 2016. Chief Financial Officer Philippe Blondiaux assured The New York Times the posting wasn’t a precursor to an IPO but it was an affirmation of their status as the biggest luxury brand in the world. “We realised it was time to put the facts on the table as to exactly who we are: a $10 billion company with very strong financials, plus all the means and ammunition at our disposal to remain independent.”

This news comes weeks after luxury holdings group Kering revealed Gucci is aiming to reach the €10 billion revenue threshold. Not only this, discussions about money come at an interesting time for the industry. Reshuffling is abound with Missoni selling a minority stake to private equity firm FSI; Kering is in talks to sell back their 51 percent stake in Christopher Kane, months after Stella McCartney bought back their majority share in her business.

Perhaps most surprising of all, the announcement Puig purchasing a majority stake in Dries van Noten, the Belgian business synonymous with beautifully executed, ineffably rich luxury fashion and previously one of the few independent fashion brands. 

The news surfaced the week before van Noten’s men’s show which took place in Paris on Thursday evening. The move was defined by a desire to expand the business but it was also marked by dread by his legions of followers who fear an aesthetic dilution could be afoot. 

His men’s outing is never quite as expressive as his women’s—although both are principled by a razor-sharp focus on pragmatism and perfunctory practices, the men’s clothing is rooted in less decorative territory. But this season he strived for something more zestful and energetic.

He was heavily influenced by Danish furniture and interior designer Verner Panton’s curvilinear designs. He contacted Panton’s estate, requesting to collaborate. They permitted the label access to their archive with van Noten photographing and repurposing motifs for the collection. They can in eye-popping shades of tangerine and citron, lime and emerald, aqua and midnight blue. The metallic hues were like elevated Quality Street wrappers. Distinctly on-trend with the prismatic explosions that will dominate men’s fashion in 2019, he rendered his theme in lightweight parkas, loose shirts and summery separates. It was a colourful feast for the eyes, and the kind of sellable garb that will not only delight his fan base but also satisfy the commercial objectives of Puig. 

Despite the optimism, my eyes will be on the development of his womenswear in October.

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