Is Phoebe Philo exiting Céline?

Paris Fashion Week has barely ended but the rumour mill surrounding one of its best-loved designers is gaining headlines across the world.

The rumour this time concerns Céline and its star designer Phoebe Philo, who according to the Business of Fashion is making plans for a successor should the English creative call it a day.

“The interviews have been going on for a few months now,” the Business of Fashion published on Monday, alluding to preparation for Philo to be replaced. Yet when Céline was asked for comment, the opposite was confirmed: “We categorically deny any imminent departure of Phoebe Philo from Céline,” a spokesman for LVMH said.

Why the speculation?

Unnamed sources are saying Philo is leaving at the end of 2017, nearly 10 years after joining the brand in 2008. Céline is one of LVMH’s most successful companies, largely attributed to the turnaround actdioned by Philo, who’s aesthetic made it a must-have, season after season, and boosting its earnings for 200m euros per year to 700m euros.

Céline, of course, is not adverse to change. After years of eschewing the internet and e-commerce, the brand is finally thought to be embracing the digital realm and launching e-com later this year. This is in part due to the new chief executive Severine Merle, who replaced Marco Gobbetti, who left the brand to join Burberry in April.

According to the Business of Fashion, Philo has stayed in her role much longer than the average creative director, with nearly ten years under her belt. While Céline remains one of the stalwart brands of Paris, it’s growth rate has slowed, a prompt perhaps for Philo to consider new opportunities.

Photo credit: Phoebe Philo, courtesy of Celine

Georgina Chapman from Marchesa to leave Weinstein following rape claims

Disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein faced claims Tuesday he raped an Italian film star and two other women, in a widening scandal that has drawn condemnation from across the film industry as well as America's liberal political elite.

The women's allegations against the 65-year-old movie mogul were made in an bombshell expose published by the New Yorker Tuesday. Weinstein denies all charges, according to a statement from his spokeswoman Sallie Hofmeister, circulated among US media.

But former President Barack Obama and presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton have weighed in to condemn the Oscar-winning producer, a longtime Democratic Party donor who has become a political liability. His wife, British fashion designer Georgina Chapman meanwhile told celebrity magazine People she was leaving Weinstein, with whom she has two children.

The latest accusations are a hugely damaging escalation of the scandal. Previous allegations which led to his weekend sacking from The Weinstein Company had so far been limited to complaints about harassment. New Yorker writer Ronan Farrow spent 10 months interviewing 13 women who reported they were harassed or assaulted by Weinstein.

The investigation was published as fresh misconduct allegations emerged from Hollywood A-listers such as Angelina Jolie, Rosanna Arquette and Gwyneth Paltrow. Italian actress Asia Argento, the 42-year-old daughter of iconic horror director Dario Argento, said Weinstein forced oral sex and intercourse on her 20 years ago. She told the publication she had maintained her silence until now for fear that Weinstein would "crush" her, adding: "I know he has crushed a lot of people before."

She said Weinstein, who has weighed up to 300 pounds (136 kilograms), terrified her due to his immense size. "It wouldn't stop. It was a nightmare," she added, revealing that she had felt forced to pretend she was enjoying the attack in hopes that it would be over with sooner.

Argento acknowledges that her credibility may be compromised by the fact that she eventually yielded to his advances, even growing close to him and having consensual sex with him multiple times over the following five years. She said she felt "obliged" to submit, however, and worried that he would ruin her career if she rejected him.

"Just his body, his presence, his face, bring me back to the little girl that I was when I was 21... After the rape, he won," she told the New Yorker. Lucia Evans, an aspiring actress, said she met Weinstein at the Miramax office in New York in 2004 and that he forced her to perform oral sex on him. "I said, over and over, 'I don't want to do this, stop, don't,'" she told the New Yorker.

'People give up'

Evans said she was overpowered and "just sort of gave up." "That's the most horrible part of it, and that's why he's been able to do this for so long to so many women: people give up, and then they feel like it's their fault," she added.

Another woman, who was too afraid to allow her name to be published, told the New Yorker Weinstein brought her to a hotel room and "forced himself on me sexually." She thought about going to the police, but decided it would be a case of "he said, she said," and worried about how powerful his legal team would be, and how much she had to lose.

Another instance involved model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, once a finalist in the Miss Italy contest, whom the New Yorker said Weinstein met in March 2015 at a reception for a show he was producing in New York. According to the New Yorker, Gutierrez says Weinstein "lunged at her, groping her breasts and attempting to put a hand up her skirt" at a meeting in his offices in Tribeca.

She reported the incident and the New York Police Department asked her to wear a wire to his play "Finding Neverland." Audio of their conversation in a hallway at the Tribeca Grand Hotel was released by the magazine, with Weinstein heard repeatedly trying to persuade her to come into his room. "Why yesterday you touch my breast?" she asks, and he replies: "Oh, please, I'm sorry, just come on in, I'm used to that."

Clinton, Obama weigh in

Authorities decided not to press charges, according to the New Yorker, after it emerged the young woman had attended one of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's infamous "bunga bunga" sex parties. Weinstein was fired late Sunday from his own film studio, three days after a New York Times report alleged that the man behind such hits as "The King's Speech" and "The Artist" had preyed on young women hoping to break into the industry.

The board of The Weinstein Company issued a statement Tuesday vowing to help in any criminal investigation "while pursuing justice for the victims and a full and independent investigation of our own." The Times, as well as various entertainment media, separately reported on Tuesday that the litany of Weinstein's harassment victims also included Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Rosanna Arquette and French actress Judith Godreche.

"I was shocked and appalled by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein," former Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton said in a statement Tuesday, while former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle said they were "disgusted."

"Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status," they said in a statement. Chapman, his second wife, with whom he has two children, told People: "I have chosen to leave my husband. Caring for my young children is my first priority and I ask the media for privacy at this time." (AFP)

Photo: Marchesa, Facebook

Critics called for a boycott of American fashion designer Donna Karan's products Tuesday, after she defended Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood mogul fired from the studio he co-founded amid allegations of sexual harassment.

On Sunday, Karan had suggested women had been seeking a reaction from Weinstein by dressing provocatively. After a barrage of criticism, she apologized, but the condemnation kept pouring in.

"I think he's being looked at right now as a symbol, not necessarily as him. I know his wife, I think they're wonderful people. Harvey has done some amazing things," the founder of DKNY said about Weinstein on the red carpet for the CineFashion Film Awards in Los Angeles.

"It's not Harvey Weinstein. You look at everything all over the world today and how women are dressing, what they're asking by just presenting themselves the way they do. What are they asking for? Trouble."

The comments triggered outrage, including from actress Rose McGowan, whom The New York Times said had reached a settlement with Weinstein in 1997 after the producer had behaved inappropriately toward her. "Donna Karan you are a DEPLORABLE," McGowan, 44, tweeted Monday. "Aiding and abetting is a moral crime. You are scum in a fancy dress."

Karan later apologized, saying her red carpet statements were taken out of context and "not representative of how I feel or what I believe." "I believe that sexual harassment is NOT acceptable and this is an issue that MUST be addressed once and for all regardless of the individual," she wrote.

"I am truly sorry to anyone that I offended and everyone that has ever been a victim." Despite her apology, critics were still expressing outrage online Tuesday toward the 69-year-old New York designer, some calling for boycotting her products.

"No more Donna Karan for me," wrote actress Mia Farrow. The designer is no longer involved in managing the brands Donna Karan and DKNY, which she sold in 2001 to luxury group LVMH who in turn sold it last year to G-III Apparel Group. Karan relinquished all roles she had within these groups in 2015 to focus on her luxury lifestyle brand Urban Zen. (AFP)

Fashion flash sale website ShowroomPrivé has named Thomas Kienzi as chief financial officer, to succeed Nicolas Woosen, who is departing the company in the next few weeks.

Kienzi joined ShowroomPrivé in 2015 to assist with its listing on the stock exchange and its merger and acquisition operations, and last year was appointed the deputy chief financial officer.

In a statement, ShowroomPrivé said that Kienzi was “instrumental” in structuring the group's financial division, as well as during the acquisition and integration of Saldi Privati and Beauté Privée and more recently, during the merger with the Steinhoff group and its subsidiary Conforama.

"We are very pleased with the appointment of Thomas. It acknowledges the success of his journey within Showroomprivé,” said Thierry Petit and David Dayan, co-founders and co-chief executive officer’s of Showroomprivé. “As chief financial officer, he will bring us his extensive knowledge of the financial challenges that our society, our investors and our strategy are facing.”

Prior to joining Showroomprivé, Kienzi was an executive director at American bank Morgan Stanley, he has also worked at the Crédit Agricole CIB and the Deutsche Bank in Paris and London.

Derek Lovelock has confirmed that he is to stand down as chairman of British fashion retailer Jack Wills by the end of 2017, after joining the board a year ago to "pursue other interests".

The fashion and lifestyle brand said that Richard Wyatt, vice-chairman of Rothschilds, will take over as non-executive chairman.

Lovelock, who is also the chairman of Joe Brown and once chaired Oasis and Warehouse parent company Aurora Fashions, was brought on as chairman at Jack Wills a year go to assist the brand following the transaction in September 2016 where Union Lifestyle Limited acquired 100 percent of the share capital of the Jack Wills Group. The joint shareholders of this new entity became BlueGem Capital Partners LLP and Peter Williams, founder and chief executive of Jack Wills.

Williams, said: “Derek joined us as chairman a year ago to help the business through the first 12 months after the deal with BlueGem.

“During that first year the business has undergone a significant revitalisation and we have hired some very exciting new talent. The business is in increasingly great shape and so, just over a year on, Derek will be stepping down at the end of this year.”

The brand’s incoming chairman Wyatt was lead adviser to Williams during the transaction with BlueGem Capital Partners.

Williams added: “I have worked very closely with Richard for some time, including through the transaction with BlueGem, and am very excited that he will be formally joining us as chairman.”

Diesel launches campaign for ‘chair executive officer’

Fashion brand Diesel has launched a tongue-in-cheek campaign fronted by its founder Renzo Rosso, seeking a candidate to fill the position of 'chair executive officer’, following the resignation of chief executive officer Alessandro Bogliolo over the summer.

The Italian brand launched the campaign via its Facebook and states it is looking for someone who has “amazing sitting skills”.

“Our chief executive officer has left, leaving an empty space in our hearts, but most importantly, an empty chair,” Rosso tells viewers in the video while a violin plays. “So I’m looking for a new CEO – chair executive officer.”

Rosso then goes on to ask: “What do you think you need to become one, an MBA degree, yeah, maybe.

“But as many of you want to sit in an important chair, first of all, you have to be good at sitting.”

The social-media driven campaign is calling on applicants to showcase their sitting skills with a gif or video uploaded to the Diesel Facebook page to be in with the chance of spending a week in the retailer’s head office in Italy and sitting “like a boss”.

Image: via Diesel Facebook

Footwear and accessories retailer Dune London has named James Radford as its new international and wholesale director to drive forward the brand’s international growth.

Former general manager at FitFlop, Radford also served as head of merchandising international business at Rockport.

Dune London chief executive James Cox said: “James’ appointment comes at a very exciting time for Dune London as international expansion is a focal part of our overall growth strategy.

“James will be instrumental in the delivery of this plan by focusing efforts on specific markets with best in class support strategies and tactical initiatives which are regionally appropriate and perfectly aligned with our product and marketing investments.”

Dune executive chairman Daniel Rubin added: “This is a significant step in our strategy to become the leading global affordable luxury footwear and accessories brand.

“We are delighted to have James join our Board and fortunate to have extremely strong international networks and partners to ensure we continue to expand our global reach.”

In September, Dune London opened 10 new locations in South America, a 33rd store in the Middle East and two new European stand-alone stores in Switzerland and Serbia.

Hervé L. Leroux, founder of Hervé Léger, passes away

London - The French couturier behind the iconic bandage dress and founder of Hervé Léger, Hervé L. Leroux, has passed away at the age of 60. Leroux’s death was announced by the Federation of Fashion and Ready-to-Wear Couturiers and Fashion Designers (Fédération de la haute couture et de la mode) on Friday morning, although details concerning his death have yet to be released.

The couturier, who was born with the name Hervé Peugnet, first started out his career after being discovered by Karl Lagerfeld. Leroux worked as Lagerfeld’s design assistant at Fendi and Chanel before setting out on his own in 1985. Leroux set up his own design label under the name Hervé Léger and quickly rose to fame in the 1990s thanks to his unique bandage dresses, which accentuated the female body and curves.

Towards the end of the decade, sales began to lag and Leroux lost control of the company and the commercial use of the brand name. It was purchased by the BCBG Max Azria group, who proceeded to work with Leroux for one more collection before pushing him out of the company. However, Leroux went on to found his own independently-financed couture house under the name Hervé L. Leroux in early 2000, a name that was given to him by his close friend and mentor, Karl Lagerfeld.

"He told me, 'Call yourself Leroux because your hair is red - not as red as it was, because you are older - but anyway it works, and everyone will know who you are,'" said the couturier in an interview with Style.com in 2006. He went on to refine his art of draping fabrics while working for his second label. Over the years his designs have been worn by the likes of Celine Dion, Halle Berry, Cate Blanchett and Taylor Swift.

Credit: Pierre Verdy / AFP

Outdoor apparel and footwear brand The North Face has named Tim Hamilton as head of global creative, effective immediately.

Hamilton, a veteran designer of more than 20-years experience in design and large-scale collaborations including his own eponymous label, will be responsible for the creative direction of the brand and its products for all global markets.

“For us, exploration is a mindset, and we look at the vibrancy and culture of our cities and our mountains to embrace the ways people push limits, create, and pursue their passion,” said global president of The North Face Arne Arens. “Tim has pushed the boundaries of design and innovation by drawing inspiration from the unexpected. We see a lot potential in fusing our brand’s heritage with Tim’s fresh perspective.”

In addition, the press statement added that Hamilton will work across all of The North Face consumer territories, bringing his “design inspiration, innovative partnerships, and perspective to the brand”.

Commenting on his appointment, Hamilton said: “I've always been fascinated by outdoor culture and how its product sits at the forefront of design and innovation. I've drawn inspiration from it and have referenced it throughout my career.

“I'm thrilled to be joining The North Face, the originators of technical outdoor products and an iconic brand for exploration and want to continue to push the boundaries.”

American fashion designer Alexander Wang has stepped down as chief executive of his namesake label, effective immediately, and will be replaced by former Goop and Martha Stewart Omnimedia executive Lisa Gerth.

At Goop, Gersh served as chief executive and oversaw its Goop-branded products and advertising revenue. Prior to Goop, she was chief executive of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and served in executive roles at NBCUniversal and was co-founder and president of Oxygen Media.

Wang will remain at his eponymous brand, as chairman and creative director.

In addition, the US label also confirmed the appointment of former Farfetch chief marketing officer Stephanie Horton as its new chief strategy officer, a newly created position at the company. Prior to Farfetch, Horton held senior positions at Shopbop, Vogue and The New York Times.

Commenting on the move, Wang said: “The appointment of chief executive, and the addition of a chief strategy officer position, highlight our ongoing strategy of productivity and diversification. In a rapidly changing retail environment, it’s necessary for us to continually challenge the status quo.

“In my year as chief executive I’ve been able to reflect and assess the strengths and opportunities of the company and set the stage for future growth. Lisa and Stephanie’s diverse backgrounds in the media, lifestyle, and digital landscape will help us continue to position the business to expand into new categories and territories.”