Paul Marciano, co-founder of fashion giant Guess, is relinquishing his day-to-day responsibilities after model Kate Upton accused him of grabbing her breasts and aggressively kissing her, the company said Tuesday.

The 65-year-old Guess co-founder and creative director denies the allegations, but the company's board of directors has commissioned an investigation by outside lawyers into the claims of improper conduct. "The board of directors and Mr Marciano have agreed that Mr Marciano will relinquish his day-to-day responsibilities at the company, on an unpaid basis, pending the completion of the investigation," Guess said in a statement. Marciano said the company would have his "full cooperation." Following the announcement, Guess shares were down 3.8 percent on Wall Street. Upton, who was once the face of the label, first accused Marciano on Twitter, before detailing her allegations in an interview with Time magazine as the #MeToo campaign against sexual misconduct widens within the fashion industry.

The 25-year-old told Time that after a July 2010 lingerie shoot, Marciano "forcibly grabbed my breasts and started feeling them -- playing with them actually." After she pushed him away, she said he continued to touch her "in a very dominating and aggressive way" and at one point "forcibly grabbed the back of my head so that I could not move and started kissing my face and my neck." A month later on another shoot, she said Marciano repeatedly asked to come up to her hotel room, but that she turned off her phone, locked the door and tried to sleep.

"I was terrified. All I could think was if he was able to get into my room, it would not be good," she said. "The next day, I learned that I had been fired from the shoot. Someone had called my agency to say I had gotten fat and would not be needed on set." Marciano co-founded Guess in 1981 and has been its executive chairman and chief creative officer since 2015. Upton is married to star Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander, and is known for appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated swimsuit editions. (AFP)

Ayrshire-based Balmoral Knitwear (Scotland) Limited has pulled the curtains on its manufacturing business citing increased competition from low cost garments sourced overseas, rising raw material costs and the recent devaluation of the pound as main reasons behind its decision. According to a statement released by provisional liquidators RSM, despite concerted efforts to find a buyer or investor to rescue the business, the management were left with no alternative than to place the company into provisional liquidation.

Commenting on development, Paul Dounis, joint provisional liquidator, said in a statement: “It is with profound regret that employees of this historic business have been made redundant with immediate effect; and we are working with local and national organisations including East Ayrshire Council, PACE (Partnership Action for Continuing Employment), the Job Centre and the Redundancy Payments Service to support those employees who have been made redundant to process claims as quickly as possible.”

“The Balmoral name is well known in the sector and we would ask any parties with an interest in acquiring the business to get in touch with us as soon as possible,” Dounis added.

Founded in 1895, Balmoral Knitwear has been a supplier of both plain and embroidered corporate uniform, school wear and work wear.

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has appointed Serge Brunschwig as the new Chairman and Chief Executive of fashion house Fendi, reports Reuters. Reporting into Toni Belloni, LVMH Group Managing Director, Brunschwig replaces Pietro Beccari, who was named Chairman and CEO of LVMH’s Christian Dior Couture in November last year.

Last year, after Sidney Toledano ended his 20 year long journey heading Christian Dior, Beccari, then CEO of Fendi, stepped into the role vacated by Toledano. Toledano moved into a supervisory role as chief of the LVMH Fashion Group.

Last month, LVMH reported revenue of 42.6 billion euros (65.4 billion dollars) in 2017, an increase of 13 percent over the previous year, while organic revenue growth was 12 percent. Profit from recurring operations reached 8, 293 million euros (10,257 million dollars) in 2017, an increase of 18 percent, and group share of net profit was 5, 129 million euros (6,339.7 million dollars), representing growth of 29 percent.

Harvey Nichols’ buying director quits

Harvey Nichols’ fashion buying director Anita Barr has resigned from the position. Spokesperson at the company has confirmed the news saying, “Anita Barr left Harvey Nichols on the 31st January to pursue new career opportunities. We are currently recruiting for a replacement which will be announced in due course.”

For the year ending April 1, 2017, the Harvey Nichols Group witnessed a loss of 6.7 million pounds (9.3 million dollars) compared to a profit of 3 million pounds (4.1 million dollars) last year. The company’s turnover remained flat at 194 million pounds (270.9 million dollars) and EBITDA before exceptionals declined to 7.3 million pounds (10.2 million dollars) against 12 million pounds (16.7 million dollars) last year.

Founded in 1831, Harvey Nichols has stores in London, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Manchester, Leeds, Bristol, Dublin in the Republic of Ireland and a dedicated beauty store, Beauty Bazaar, Harvey Nichols in Liverpool. Internationally, the company operates stores in Hong Kong, Dubai, Riyadh, Kuwait, Istanbul and Ankara.

Picture:Harvey Nichols website

Ted Baker’s non-executive director resigns

Ted Baker has announced the resignation of Anita Balchandani as a Non-Executive Director with effect from February 19, 2018, as she has accepted a new full-time role which does not permit her to hold any non-executive positions.

Commenting on the development, David Bernstein CBE, Chairman of Ted Baker, said in a statement: "We are sorry that Anita cannot continue with us due to her other commitments and wish her well in her new role."

The company added that Andrew Jennings has agreed to act as remuneration committee chair while the company searches for a new non-executive director.

Balchandani had joined Ted Baker in September last year while serving as a partner of OC&C Strategy Consultants, a strategy consulting firm. At the time of joining Ted Baker, she was also associated with Majestic Wine Plc, as non-executive director and chair of the remuneration committee and as non-executive director with Space NK Apothecary.

Picture:Ted Baker website

Sir Philip Green considers selling Arcadia to Shandong Ruyi

Sir Philip Green may be considering sale of all or part of his Arcadia Group, reports The Sunday Times. The report added that the Topshop-owner is believed to be negotiating with Chinese textile major Shandong Ruyi. However, according to The Daily Telegraph, Frank Field, the chairman of the influential work and pensions select committee, is urging the government to enable the pensions regulator to bring a stay on the sale to avoid repeat of the BHS-like scandal.

Meanwhile, Shandong Ruyi is strengthening its business interest in Europe with recent acquisition of majority shares in Swiss shoe-maker Bally. The company already owns controlling stake in the French luxury brands Sandro and Maje, the maker of Lycra and the British tailoring houses Aquascutum, Gieves & Hawkes and Kent & Curwen.

Arcadia brands Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Burton have been witnessing considerable decline in revenues in the recent times. The reports further states that the leaked set of Arcadia’s Christmas performance showed almost 10.9 percent fall in Topshop’s like-for-like sales and 6.5 percent drop in Arcadia’s like-for-like sales.

After Green sold BHS to bankrupt Dominic Chappell in 2015 leading to the collapse of the department store a year later with 571 million pounds (800 million dollars) hole in its pension funds, under pressure from the Pensions Regulator and MPs, who voted to confiscate his knighthood, Green had to shell out 363 million pounds (508.6 million dollars) to settle the matter.

Citing documents published by MPs last year, the report states that Arcadia’s pension deficit is at 565 million pounds (791.8 million dollars) on an ongoing basis, or around 1 billon pounds (1.4 billion dollars) on a buyout basis. Last year Arcadia said it would double pension fund contributions to 50 million pounds (70 million dollars) per year, which it expects to close the deficit in eight to nine years.

In 2012, US investor Leonard Green bought a 25 percent stake in Topshop in a 350 million pounds (490.5 million dollars) deal, which included terms that stopped selling or floating the company for five years by the parties involved. The term came to an end in December last year.

Picture:Arcadia website

Casino Group in talks to acquire online shoe retailer Sarenza

Casino Group through its subsidiary Monoprix has entered into exclusive negotiations to acquire online shoe retailer Sarenza. The company said in a statement, this acquisition aims at completing the offering of Monoprix, and at positioning it as an omnichannel lifestyle leader in fashion, home and beauty segments.

Commenting on the development, Jean-Charles Naouri, Chairman and CEO of Casino Group said in a media statement: “By acquiring Sarenza and its expertise, Casino Group will consolidate its position as French leader in urban online retail. This transaction places Monoprix at the edge of the fashion and home online retail.”

Sarenza with presence in 30 countries in Europe offers over 650 brands and 40,000 designs online and generated more than 250 million euros (310 million dollars) in sales before returns during the last fiscal year.

“We are very pleased with this integration project, allowing us to join a major distribution group and to expand our product offering by leveraging the expertise of Monoprix, one of the most cutting-edge, innovative and popular brand among French people,” added Stéphane Trepoz, Chairman and CEO of Sarenza.

Casino Group is a key player in the French retail industry with more than 12,000 stores worldwide – in France, Latin America and in the Indian Ocean region.


Ralph Lauren appoints creative director for women’s polo biz

Michael Rider has been appointed as SVP and Creative Director of the women’s polo business at Ralph Lauren, reports Business of Fashion. Quoting sources familiar with the development, the report said, Rider will shoulder the responsibility of elevating the mid-priced women’s polo collection.

Rider joins the company from LVMH-owned Céline, where she worked for nine years under Phoebe Philo. Prior to that, she served as a senior designer at Balenciaga for four years under Nicolas Ghesquière . At Ralph Lauren, the report further added that Rider will work alongside John Wrazej, who leads the men’s polo business, while Frederic Dechnik will lead the runway collection and Kevin Carrigan will continue to head the Lauren and Chaps labels, sold through wholesale partnerships.

The company recently also announced several senior appointments to drive expansion of the company’s digital presence globally. Alice Delahunt joined Ralph Lauren from Burberry, in the newly created role of Chief Digital Officer, reporting to Patrice Louvet, Chief Executive Officer, whojoined the company in July 2017 from Procter & Gamble.

Additionally, the company appointed new senior leaders to support its evolution across ecommerce in North America and internationally. Laura Porco was named Senior Vice President, ecommerce for Ralph Lauren North America and Galen Hardy took on the role of Senior Vice President, Club Monaco ecommerce & business operations. The company added, that Valeria Juarez assumed the role of Senior Vice President, ecommerce, international, while Janet Sherlock, Chief Information Officer, joined the company in August from Carter’s, and Cyrus “Cy” Fenton joined her team as Senior Vice President, IT security & infrastructure, Chief Information Security Officer.

Picture:Ralph Lauren website

Matt Davies to join N Brown as Chairman in May 2018

N Brown has announced the appointment of Matt Davies as Non-Executive Director and Chairman elect with immediate effect. Davies, the company said, will assume the role of Chairman from May 1, 2018, succeeding Andrew Higginson, who will retire from the board on that date.

Commenting on the development, Higginson, said in a statement: “We are delighted to welcome Matt Davies to N Brown. Matt is a first-class retailer and brings a wealth of experience to the group. He has a proven track record of value creation across retail and online through his roles as CEO of Tesco UK and ROI and as CEO of Halfords and Pets at Home. It has been a privilege to chair the company through the past five years, and I wish the business every success in the coming years.”

Davies, the company added, is currently CEO of Tesco UK and ROI, a role he will leave at the end of April 2018 having been appointed in May 2015. Prior to Tesco, he was CEO of Halfords from 2012 to 2015 and finance director from 2001 – 2004 and CEO of Pets at Home from 2004 – 2012.

“I am delighted and excited to be taking on this role. I am really looking forward to working with Angela, her team and my fellow Non-Executive Directors to further develop and grow the N Brown business,” added Davies.

Picture:N Brown website

Paul Smith store to open at London’s King’s Cross

The King’s Cross Partnership and Paul Smith have announced that the British designer will open a new store at Coal Drops Yard, the Heatherwick Studio-designed shopping quarter in London’s King’s Cross, in October 2018, as part of the brand’s global expansion plans.

Commenting on the new store set to open in London, Paul Smith said: “As a man who’s travelled in and out of King’s Cross and St Pancras for many years and seen it change from a very run-down and sad area to become a vibrant and beautifully restored part of the city, it’s with great excitement that I’m opening a new shop there later in the year.”

Following the tradition of giving an exclusive touch to his every store, Paul Smith’s in-house team of architects will work on this new store as well reflecting its surroundings. The shop design at Coal Drops Yard, the company said in a statement, will be a juxtaposition of modern features with the listed architecture where the vaulted brick ceiling and walls will be retained. A room for men’s suiting will be covered in thousands of Japanese 1 yen coins, hinting at Smith’s long-standing relationship with Japan. Linking the rear room to the women’s room will be a blue tunnel with a rubberised playground floor.

The rear room will reflect his history as a shopkeeper in Nottingham when he would change his shop stock regularly, bringing back unusual objects such as toys from his travels around the world. This space, the company added, will feature a rotation of store concepts, from the exclusive Japanese Red Ear collection, to product launches linked with events in the city such as Design Week and Frieze, creating a contemporary version of a local shop.

Picture credit: Paul Smith website