Diane von Fürstenberg on the lookout for an investor
Diane von Fürstenberg has decided to look for an investor willing to acquire a stake in the US label and support it through a new expansion phase. It was the designer herself who confirmed the rumours that have been circulating recently.
"I'm not about to sell my business, but the time has come to give the company the senior management it deserves. I've decided we will probably sell a stake in [Diane von Fürstenberg's]," the designer told WWD. A spokesperson for the label confirmed the decision, telling FashionNetwork.com that "talks are still at an initial phase and, so far, no deal has been struck by the fashion label." Also, no target date for the operation has been set.
Diane von Fürstenberg, who in 1972 founded the eponymous women's ready-to-wear label in New York, asked the Michel Dyens & Co. merchant bank, with offices in New York and Paris, to handle the negotiations. In 1983, the designer had already resorted to the bank, specialised in mergers and acquisitions, when she sold her cosmetics brand to the UK's Beecham Group Ltd.
As the label's spokesperson underlined, "Diane von Fürstenberg hasn't had a CEO for over a year, and it's now a matter of attracting a suitable top manager, to lead the company through a new phase and consolidate its heritage."
The US label's General Manager, Paolo Riva, left in November 2016, only a year and a half after being appointed to the post. Under Riva's aegis, the label picked Scottish designer Jonathan Saudners as Creative Director in May 2016.
Earlier this year, Marc Menesguen was appointed joint President alongside the founder, who is now 70. Diane von Fürstenberg also stated that Paula Sutter has been co-opted on the board of directors again. Sutter joined the label in 1999 as President, in order to reposition the brand commercially and develop its international reputation as a "luxury lifestyle brand", before leaving the company in 2013.
In the last few years, faced with the luxury market's crisis, the label underwent a far-reaching reorganisation. It reduced the number of items in its ready-to-wear collections by 40%, in order to gain in efficiency and clarity. At the same time, it streamlined its retail and wholesale networks, making them more selective, with the objective of drawing closer to consumers.
"As everyone knows, retail sales are going through a difficult phase for all brands right now. In terms of physical stores, we have not renewed a number of leases and, effectively, we have deliberately rationalised our distribution. Our e-tail business is performing extremely well," the company told FashionNetwork.com.
Diane von Fürstenberg is currently distributed via 140 stores worldwide, about twenty of them in the USA.
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