Following his unexpected resignation from Puig (owners of a significant amount of fragrance businesses as well as Jean Paul Gaultier, Carolina Herrera, Paco Rabanne and Nina Ricci) last year, Moroccan born Ralph Toledano has been named chairman of the fashion brand Victoria Beckham. This is following a $40 million dollar investment said to value the brand at $133.44 million dollars, by Neo Investment Partners for a minority stake in the eponymous label (who have also made investments in menswear brand Ami, Luxury leather goods brand Valextra and British design brand Tom Dixon)
The Victoria Beckham brand is retailed via 400 stockists in over 50 countries, in addition to its flagship on Dover Street and a retail partnership with Hong Kong based Joyce Lane Crawford Group, as well as the brand’s website.
Beckham told BoF at the time:
As the business continues to grow, I appreciate the need for external investment which, in turn, would bring external expertise, Neo has shown it can take founder-led businesses with a global outlook to new heights. Our focus is on building a sustainable, profitable luxury brand.
Toledano, a high profile fashion executive, brings a wealth of expertise to his role as chairman – known unofficially as Mr Paris Fashion Week, he is not only the current chairman of French fashion’s governing body, the Fédération Française de la Couture, du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode he is well known for discovering and nurturing young fashion talent.
He has been credited with hiring celebrated designers like fellow Moroccan Alber Elbaz, in his first creative director role at Guy Laroche (he was couturier Geoffrey Beene’s assistant from 1989 to 1996) and the talented Phoebe Philo at South African owned, Switzerland based Groupe Richemont’s Chloé where he was chief executive and president for over nine years. He has also been responsible for infusing flagging brands with fresh creative talent from the new generation such as Guillaume Henry at Nina Ricci and Julien Dossena at Paco Rabanne.
The general speculation is that he has been brought in to turn the companies financials around – although Victoria Beckham has gone from vilified to victorious, the critically acclaimed brand is yet to turn a profit in its 10 year history. Following an operational loss recorded with Companies House was seen to almost double to £8.5million, with sales relatively flat at 36.4 million in comparison to £36.9million the year prior, the savvy former pop star and fashion entrepreneur seems set to gain fresh perspective from seasoned executives like Toledano to grow and reinvigorate the business.
With so many upheavals in the global fashion industry on both the creative and executive sides, most likely due to the abrupt shifts in geopolitical factors and a significant slowdown in retail growth and luxury spending, it’s easy to just see the gloom and doom. Positive news like this is always a welcome change.