Going Gaga for Hedi Slimane

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The singer looked ethereal on the red carpet in Venice. (AFP)
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Lady Gaga showed off a bag from the new line. (Instagram)
Updated 05 September 2018
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Going Gaga for Hedi Slimane

French photographer, fashion designer and agent provocateur Hedi Slimane, who is of Tunisian heritage, has never been known to shock in halves.
The maverick genius took two contrasting slants when he replaced Phoebe Philo at Celine, the French ready-to-wear and leather luxury goods brand.
The first was a subtle, yet impactful, hint of things to come when Slimane used artist Lady Gaga to debut a sleek, yet versatile, handbag at the Venice film festival late last week. Slimane and Gaga are relevant for being artistic and bizarre.
Just when the critics were dissecting the craftsmanship and versatility of the purse he went nuclear by wiping out Celine’s entire Instagram account and ditching the brands famous accent.
The world was waiting for a shakeup of Slimanesque proportions and he did not disappoint. Opinion as usual, was strong, but divided.
Known to be a disruptor of ideas and traditions Slimane is known to send observers, loyalists and critics in the fashion world into a tailspin with his unorthodox applications. His documented stints with Dior Homme and Saint Laurent, where he knocked off the “Yves,” to earn the rage of thousands, are cases in point. His talent is unquestioned, but the approach to his craft is always the subject of deliberation.
Slimane’s posts on Instagram to highlight the new Celine application was a video of sparkling gold lamé fabric accompanied by dramatic music. He rationalized the brand’s facelift saying, “The new logo has been directly inspired by the original, historical version that existed in the 1960’s. The accent on the ‘E’ has been removed to enable a simplified and more balanced proportion, evoking the Celine collections of the 1960’s where the accent wasn’t used often.”
The reaction from the fraternity has been consistent — a mixture of outrage, bewilderment and admiration.
Slimane will debut the Celine menswear and womenswear collections in Paris this month. But the sneak peek provided by Lady Gaga, herself no stranger to controversy with her ability to shock and awe, has got critics launching a thousand theories.  
Err… about the bag: The oversized black tote features gold hardware and a subtle monogrammed tag— simple lines from a brand and a designer who are more avant-garde than conventional.


Michael Kors agrees to buy Versace for €1.83 billion

Updated 25 September 2018
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Michael Kors agrees to buy Versace for €1.83 billion

MILAN: US fashion group Michael Kors has agreed to buy Versace in a deal valuing the revered designer at $2 billion including debt, the companies said on Tuesday, making it the latest Italian brand to fall into foreign hands.
Michael Kors, whose namesake label is best known for its leather handbags, has made no secret of its ambition to grow its portfolio of high-end brands after buying British stiletto-heel maker Jimmy Choo for $1.2 billion last year.
Versace, known for its bold and glamorous designs and its Medusa head logo, was one of a clutch of family-owned Italian brands cited as attractive targets at a time when the luxury industry is riding high on strong demand from China.
“We believe that the strength of the Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo brands, and the acquisition of Versace, position us to deliver multiple years of revenue and earnings growth,” John Idol, chairman and CEO of Michael Kors said.
As part of the deal, Michael Kors agreed to buy all of Versace’s outstanding shares for a total enterprise value of €1.83 billion ($2.2 billion), to be funded in cash, debt and shares in Michael Kors Holding Ltd, which will be renamed Capri Holdings Ltd.
US private equity firm Blackstone, which bought 20 percent of Versace back in 2014, will fully exit its investment.
The Versace family, which currently owns 80 percent of the fashion house via a holding company called Givi, will receive €150 million of the purchase price in Capri shares.
“We believe that being part of this group is essential to Versace’s long-term success. My passion has never been stronger,” said Donatella Versace, sister of the company’s late founder, and artistic director and vice president of the Milan-based group.
After the deal, Versace CEO Jonathan Akeroyd will remain at the helm of the company, while Donatella Versace will “continue to lead the company’s creative vision,” Idol added.
The deal is expected to close in the fourth fiscal quarter, subject to regulatory approvals.
Michael Kors said it plans to grow Versace’s global sales to $2 billion globally, boost its retail footprint to 300 stores from around 200 at present and accelerate its e-commerce strategy. It also plans to raise the share of higher-margin accessories and footwear to 60 percent of sales from 35 percent.
Versace does not disclose its financial details, but documents deposited with the Italian chamber of commerce show that last year it posted sales of €668 million and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and appreciation of €45 million.