From the runway to the high street, the economy has made one inconvenient truth brutally obvious: fashion needs a shot in the arm. Luckily for a handful of brands aiming to expand and diversify their scope in spite of the untoward financial climate, help is on the way. Thank God for investors.
Dutch design duo Viktor & Rolf have agreed to sell a majority stake to Diesel founder Renzo Rosso. Having previously co-opted left-field perennial Maison Martin Margiela, the acquisition of Viktor & Rolf marks the incorporation of another unconventional luxury brand under Renzo’s Only The Brave umbrella. In fact, it is his uniquely successful endeavor with the Belgian label that has convinced Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren that this acquisition would foster both their creative and commercial future. Says Snoeren, “What we like most [about Rosso] is his openness toward creativity and out-of-the-box thinking.”
Viktor & Rolf have become infamous for their theatrical shows (including illegal underground presentations in the late 90s!), their expressionist, slightly sinister clothing, and most recently for their construction of a doll house at at London’s Barbican Art Gallery. Now with Rosso’s backing, they plan to create new boutiques, which prompts one to ask whether these shops too will be built upside down like their current flagship store in Via Sant’Andrea. Additionally, they will expand their line to encompass licensed products such as eye wear, jewelry, and other accessories. While this diversification will certainly broaden their appeal, the duo claim that they never plan to partner with a mass retailer like H&M again, thus ensuring that you will still pay plenty to earn your own piece of the V&R cachet.
Speaking of accessories, British footwear designer Beatrix Ong, who is sometimes referred to as “the new Jimmy Choo” also has an investor come to her rescue this week. Her buzzed-about shoe line has been backed by Jaeger clothing, led by executives Harold Tillman and Belinda Earl. They have attained a 60% share in Ong’s company. Tillman, chairman of the British Fashion Council, told WWD that the partnership entails “joining forces to build the brand into a global luxury accessories brand. I feel strongly about supporting the incredible fashion talent we have in Britain…It is our intention to help her cement this deserved position and guide her global growth, to become one of the U.K.’s leading luxury brands.” And with any luck, perhaps one of Hollywood’s.
Finally, at the more accessible end of the price point spectrum, British high street brand LK Bennett has found an investor in Phoenix Equity Partners. The move is one that has been expected for several weeks; the financial details are undisclosed but the sale is thought to be in the £80m to £100m range.