Good news for Valentino: the label could be back in the black if sales stay strong through the holidays. That would be the first time the brand has turned a profit since 2007, when the London-based Permira group purchased it.
Valentino has been through a tumultuous few years, with Garavani retiring in 2008, Alessandra Facchinetti taking over the design reins and then being swiftly fired, and new designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli finally taking over. From a sales perspective, the label has also been struggling to regain its footing. Garavani had focused his intentions strongly on couture at the expense of offshoots like accessories, which now bring in half the brand's revenue, points out Fashionologie. And despite Facchinetti's appeal with critics, just 28 percent of her Fall '08 collection sold at full price - a strong indication of how a label is performing financially.
“We loved working with [Facchinetti],” Chiuri said to WSJ. Now that the label's new creative directors are bringing a younger spin on Valentino, industry leaders see opportunities for growth. Sales rose 10 percent for the first six months of this year, and store traffic has risen 15 percent.
But what does Valentino himself think of the new direction - and future - of the brand? According to label CEO Stefano Sassi: “You want the founder’s approval, but you also want to show that you are forging your own way. Do you want people to think he is OK with the things you’re doing? Yes. But do you want them to think that it is business as usual? I’m not sure.”
What do Giorgio Armani, Oscar de la Renta,Ralph Lauren and Karl Lagerfeld all have in common? Their age bracket - they're all gentlemen in their early to late 70s, successfully running multi-billion pound fashion houses. Despite their collective accomplishments and the legions of fans each designer has picked up over the years, the glaringly obvious problem is that whilst they are all at the top of their game (at this moment in time), nothing lasts forever and eventually a time will come when they will have to hand over the reins to a successor.
Christopher Bailey, chief creative officer of Burberry, told Reuters last month that, "Succession is an emotionally charged thing...especially when you talk about people like Armani, who owns the business."
Now that Tom Ford's film, 'A Single Man', has been picked up by The Weinstein Company - and probably will be put into the Oscar fight with a late-December release - it's time to talk clothes. It seems Ford is looking for funding for a women's wear line.
It's thought that the designer/film man is seeking at least $50 million, and that the search for funds began in the past two weeks. Rumour had it back in February, Alessandra Facchinetti (top women's wear designer for Ford at Gucci) would take over any new line. We'll just have to wait and see on this one.
Mr Garavani stepped down. Alessandra Facchinetti stepped up and then was tossed right back down.
When former Valentino accessory designers Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri took over as head of the fashion line this season, they must have known it would be make or break. But after the lights came up for their show at the Sorbonne, many an editor decided they didn't do enough.
That's not to say Piccioli and Chiuri lacked strength or trampled lineage. This cream-coloured skirt suit with a Valentino rose at the neck and the gorgeously texturised three-quarter sleeve trench are hardly scoff-worthy. Still, the house has done it before, and couture week is supposed to bring surprises.