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FIRST COURSE FASHION: Fashion was front and center at Tuesday’s Fashion 4 Development’s annual First Ladies Luncheon in New York.

Upon arrival, guests mingled amid a display of apparel designed by Thebe Magugu in the Park Avenue venue. The Johannesburg-based designer, who is this year’s recipient of the Franca Sozzani award, greeted well-wishers. After receiving the invitation, there was no way the designer could turn that down, having always been “a longtime admirer” of the late Sozzani ‘for all that she did for the fashion industry including Vogue Italia’s July 2008 all-Black models issue.’”

After landing in the U.S. Sunday following a 16-hour flight, the designer checked into his hotel and promptly set up his presentation. Visiting New York for the first time, Magugu planned to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a viewing, check out his designs in Bergdorf Goodman and see the sights. As for his first impressions, he said, “People walk very fast. There’s a buzz. For people who have only seen the city on television, to be here and feel the energy is really interesting. The weather is up and down. There are a lot of confusing things, but I love it.”

Fresh out of college, he started his company in 2016 intent on making it “encyclopedic in a way that captures key people, histories and cultures that run the risk of being forgotten. That’s what makes our industry so intelligent in that sense that there can be beautiful clothes that inspire,” Magugu said. “I like to use fashion in a way to inform and educate.”

Next week he will release his latest collection, and international growth is his priority. “There’s an incredible amount of responsibility when one becomes a brand. One day years ago I was just in my room sketching and then you look up, you’re steering this ship with people and there’s responsibility and timelines. It’s a very big responsibility to carry a business especially in fashion on your back,” he said.

Creating a luxury space, where one doesn’t yet exist in South Africa, can be challenging, but Magugu is making headway. F4D’s honor for his work in preserving culture is a sign of that. Further reassurance can be found in the fact that museums like The Met have been buying his work for their archives. “We’re getting over this idea that you can only do fashion in New York, in London, in Paris and in Milan. New voices from far-flung places in the world are getting to tell their stories and people are actually paying attention to them,” Magugu said.

F4D hosted its Sustainable Goals banquet Monday night at the same venue. Founder Evie Evangelou was unfazed by critics who are impatient about the state of progress regarding the goals. “People don’t understand how impossible it is to get there. It’s not easy. Everybody’s trying and we have to stay positive,” she said.  

Luncheon guests also caught a glimpse of Stewart Parvin’s designs that were part of a tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II. A handful of his designs that were inspired by things that she would have worn were on view.

He worked with the royal for 20 years including on some of her final public events. Milliner Rachel Trevor Morgan was another resource for Queen Elizabeth II and provided hats that were inspred by her for the New York event.

Gesturing toward a deep purple long dress with a multi-colored short jacket, he said that type of ensemble would have been worn to a more religious country and later altered to a shorter length skirt to make it more wearable. The crème ensemble displayed was inspired by one the designer had created for HRH for a meeting with former French President François Mitterrand in Paris. That was an homage to the white ensemble that the Queen Mother had worn to Paris in 1938 following the death of her mother, the Countess of Strathmore. The Queen Mother’s couturier Norman Hartnell had done some research and discovered mourning white. The choice created a fashion sensation. — ROSEMARY FEITELBERG

HEADING TO MEATPACKING: Saint Laurent, expanding its New York City presence, has signed a lease to open a 13,000-square-foot flagship at 70-74 Gansevoort Street in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, according to real estate sources involved in the deal.

“This will be one of the brand’s creative director Anthony Vaccarello’s first designed stores in the world,” Jared Epstein, principal at Aurora Capital Associates, told WWD via an email exchange. Aurora and William Gottlieb Real Estate own the building Saint Laurent is moving into. 

Site of the future Saint Laurent  flagship store in the Meatpacking District.

Site of the future Saint Laurent flagship in the Meatpacking District. Courtesy image

According to Epstein, the Paris-based Saint Laurent will occupy the ground, lower and second floors. He also said the Saint Laurent flagship is expected to open either in the second quarter or the third quarter of 2024.

Saint Laurent did not respond to a WWD request for comment on the store Tuesday.

Saint Laurent will be a major addition to Gansevoort Row, the fashionable, award-winning mixed-use project situated in the heart of the Meatpacking District. Gansevoort Row, which consists of 10 buildings, was redeveloped by the Aurora and William Gottlieb firms, who have been among the most active landlords in the neighborhood.

Gansevoort Row encompasses approximately 110,000 square feet of new and renovated commercial and retail space. According to its website, “The old meatpacking buildings have been beautifully preserved and extended by BKSK Architects, as a fusion of historic prewar structures with new construction and a luxurious modern twist.” The project’s tenants include Hermès and Brunello Cucinelli stores and Keith McNally’s Pastis restaurant.

The Meatpacking District has had its fair share of fashion openings and closings over the years, but more recently has seen an influx of luxury retailers such as Loro Piana, Rolex and Gucci. According to Epstein, brands and retailers are opting for spaces in the Meatpacking District because they are often larger than those offered in SoHo.

Jake Bank and Jared Epstein represented Aurora in the Saint Laurent deal. Mike Oniel of C&W represented YSL.

According to Epstein, asking rents on the block where Saint Laurent will be range from $500 to $700 per square foot. Rents throughout the Meatpacking District range from $150 to $750 a square foot, with Ninth Avenue south of 14th Street and the south side of Gansevoort Street (known as Gansevoort Row) “garnering the most interest and commanding the highest rents,” Epstein observed.

In New York City, Saint Laurent operates stores at 3 East 57th Street and on Greene Street in SoHo. Saint Laurent is part of French luxury conglomerate Kering which also owns Gucci, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Creed, Puma and Alexander McQueen. — DAVID MOIN

NEW ROLES: KCD has tapped Adrien Giraux as executive vice president and Gretchen Vater as managing director of KCD’s Global Creative Group.

In these newly created roles, they will lead KCD’s production, design and fashion services teams in the offices in New York, Paris, London and Los Angeles. They will collaborate with the agency partners and chairman Julie Mannion to identify new business and international growth opportunities.

“We are so happy to bring Adrien and Gretchen on board to evolve the Creative Group and support the incredible teams we have in place,” said Mannion. “Their experience in not only the fashion industry but in experiential, music and more will bring our clients an even more extensive offering, and their deep respect for fashion complements the approach KCD has brought to the industry.”

Giraux will develop and implement KCD’s creative and design vision. He brings extensive design experience in experiential and stage event productions, interiors and scenography, along with film-based art and production projects. He most recently served as founder and managing parter of White Screen Studio where he collaborated with brands such as Fondation Cartier, Palais de Tokyo Museum, Google, Apple, The New York Times, Adidas, Prada, Louboutin and YSL. Earlier, Giraux worked at various production agencies.

Anne Hathaway at the Versace Fall-Winter 2023 Fashion Show held at Pacific Design Center on March 9, 2023 in West Hollywood, California.

Anne Hathaway at the Versace fall 2023 fashion show held in March in L.A., with creative design and production by KCD. Michael Buckner for Variety

As managing director, Vater will guide the Creative Group’s strategy and operations as well as design execution and production with a collaborative team of both internal and external entities. Vater most recently was the founder of The Vater Group, which partners with luxury brands and talents to produce innovative work while driving brand message and image. Earlier she worked at Bureau Betak, V Agency and The Wall Group. — LISA LOCKWOOD

TIFFANY TAPS MUELAS: Tiffany & Co. has appointed a chief brand creative officer. 

The jewelry brand has named Hector Muelas to the position, according to a LinkedIn post from Muelas that was confirmed by Tiffany & Co. Tiffany declined to provide further details on Muelas’ appointment. 

Muelas revealed his appointment in a lengthy post, writing in part: “One of the world’s most storied luxury design houses, globally recognized for its extraordinary craftsmanship, innovative jewelry design and unparalleled creativity, Tiffany has given us the world’s best diamonds and the design of the Great Seal of the United States, Warhol and Basquiat, Audrey Hepburn and the Medal of Honor, the Tiffany setting and the Vince Lombardi trophy, Picasso and Peretti, the French Crown Jewels and Beyoncé, modern gemology and Nike, Deco and Nouveau, Schlumberger and Kuntz, Rolex and Patek, the blue box and the white ribbon.” 

Muelas joins Tiffany after holding several other creative roles at companies such as Tiffany parent LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Rimowa, Apple, Creative Artists Agency, Donna Karan International and Vice Media, among others.

At Rimowa, Muelas served as chief brand officer, where he led major campaigns fronted by the likes of Roger Federer and LeBron James. 

His most recent role was senior vice president of global marketing and creative at Expedia Group. 

This is Tiffany & Co.’s latest executive appointment. In March, the jeweler named Moda Operandi cofounder Lauren Santo Domingo as its first artistic director for the home category. In February, Tiffany’s executive creative director for marketing and communications, Ruba Abu-Nimah, stepped down after two years in the role. — LAYLA ILCHI

MODEL DEAL: TGI Holdings, led by founder and investment principal Alfred Tagliaferro, has become a co-owner of Select Model Management, a global network of model and talent agencies around the world.

Tagliaferro has also been appointed to Select’s board of directors.

TGI Holdings becomes co-owner in partnership with existing majority shareholder Silva International, the investment company owned by sports and media investor Riccardo Silva. Silva is also the founder of Miami FC, the main shareholder of Glove Soccer and SportBusiness, and co-owner of AC Milan.

Devon Aoki

Devon Aoki is represented by Select Model Management. Lexie Moreland/WWD

“We are thrilled to have invested in Select Model Management. Our investment is underpinned by the superb operational track record of Select’s employees and management team, who together have built the leading high-end brand within the global fashion modeling industry,” said Tagliaferro.

He said that the future of the industry “has never been more exciting, and Select’s unique position as the go-to agency for luxury fashion brand clients means it is well placed to continue its superb growth and expansion as experienced over the past few years.”

Talent agencies are seeing a lot of action lately. Earlier this month, François-Henri Pinault, whose family controls the Kering luxury empire, reached an agreement for a majority stake in Creative Artists Agency, adding Hollywood’s premier talent agent to his family empire.

Select, which was founded in 1977, has offices in London, Milan, Paris, Stockholm, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami. In 2019, Select merged with MP Management, which at the time was the world’s fastest-growing global network of model and talent agencies.

“I am happy to witness that our long-term strategic position in the global fashion industry as the most inclusive network of boutique modeling agencies has the capability to attract such prestigious private investors. Our sustained growth in terms of revenue and profitability is the direct result of the highly nurtured and caring relationships we entertain with the incredible individuals we represent as models and artists,” said Matteo Puglisi, Select chief executive officer.

TGI Holdings is an investment holding company based in London and Sydney. It invests globally across public equities, operating businesses and credit. — L.L.