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Doug Krizner: Valentino was the designer to Jacqueline Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn. Today, the designer presents his last ready-to-wear fashion show in Paris. But investors are betting his storied brand will bank future profits. Jill Barshay reports.
Jill Barshay: Valentino is handing his atelier to Alessandra Facchinetti. Never heard of her?
Marc Karimzadeh of Women’s Wear Daily says that’s the idea. He says at many fashion houses, the label is more important than the designer.
Marc Karimzadeh: These are no longer just small designer labels. They’ve become brands, and they’ve used branding technique to establish their names in the same way Coca Cola has.
And that’s what happened to Valentino. A private equity firm bought out the company earlier this year. Instead of renewing Valentino’s contract, Karimzadeh says the new investors replaced him.
Karimzadeh: Designers are retiring and leaving their brands in the hands of investment funds, that in turn try to build a strong team rather than focus on one designer to succeed the name.
When investors take over design houses, they want to boost sales and make their luxury brands more available to the masses. So fashionistas may have to air-kiss their exclusive couture goodbye.
In New York, I’m Jill Barshay for Marketplace.
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