Gucci and John Ray part company
The Italian luxury brand announced Tuesday morning that the Creative Director of Men's Ready to Wear, John Ray, has resigned from the house.
Frida Giannini will take over the creative control of Gucci's men's division, meaning that the young Roman lady will now be sole Creative Director for the Gucci brand.
This men's wear appointment caps a remarkable ascent by Giannini, who was initially made the boss of the Gucci’s accessories division, when the house appointed a triumvirate of hers, Ray and Alessandra Facchinetti, back in March 2004 to run the creative department of Gucci, following the dismissal of Tom Ford. She already gobbled up Facchinetti's position last summer, now she has Ray's too.
Gucci says goodbye to Sergio Rossi founder
Gucci Group last week said shoe brand Sergio Rossi's founder has left the company, a decision the two parties agreed upon when Gucci took full control of Sergio Rossi last year.
Italian Sergio Rossi founded the company in 1950s.
The Gucci Group took an initial 70% stake in 1999 and then increased it to 100% last year.
Gucci Group Chief Executive Robert Polet has set a deadline of 2007 for unprofitable brands like Sergio Rossi and fashion label Stella McCartney to breakeven.
"The Sergio Rossi brand has all the required assets to achieve its targets," Sergio Rossi chief executive Isabelle Guichot said in a statement.
Gucci to move investment to Asia
In three years, some 60 percent of Gucci Group's investments will be located in Asia, according to the group's chief executive Robert Polet. A "new concept" of shops will be "unveiled in late 2006" in Tokyo and Hong Kong, Polet promises in an interview with Les Echos newspaper, with 12 shops opening in the region in the coming 36 months.
"Continental China is becoming a vast area of development" while the Asia Pacific region now accounts for 21 per cent of the group's sales, the former Unilever executive explained.
Opportunities presented by organic growth in the sector would also be exploited, Polet said. He is banking on "growth of five per cent a year" in the luxury goods market, although he believes the group can "grow a little faster than the market". If his market predictions are borne out that means annual growth of seven per cent for the group.
Under a seven-year strategic plan launched last December, the Gucci brand is to be doubled in size with gross margin increased to 70 per cent and spending on marketing and communications rising by 20 per cent in the first three years. Gucci Group, a subsidiary of Pinault Printemps Redoute, is not looking to reposition its top-end brand, Polet maintains, despite the launch in July of a more expensive line of leather goods. "It's more a question of responding to a major trend in the luxury sector," he said.
The period of flux heralded by the departure of Tom Ford and Domenico de Sole had ended six months ago, according to Polet. "The way we manage the group has completely changed because we have gone from a partnership between a chief executive and an artistic director to a group of 20 directors," he added.