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Alaia takes back ownership from Prada

Prada are to sell its stake of Azzedine Alaia back to its owner. Tunisian born designer Alaia, who originally entered into partnership with Prada back in 2000, will retake 100% control of his house and brand name.

Prada and Alaia will continue to cooperate on development and production of shoe and leather goods collections, it said.

The financial settlement was not disclosed, however during its Prada period, Alaia had notched up impressive sale growth. In 2006, the Azzedine Alaia brand scored a 30% sales increase to 13.2 million Euros. Alaia was a relatively small investment for Prada, seeing as the group had 2006 sales of 1.425 billion Euros,

For Prada, this agreement confirms the strategy of focusing on its core brands in order to guarantee a continuous expansion and always more profits on the world's biggest markets.

30 July 2007

Prada for sale?

The city is abuzz with rumours that British restaurant tycoon Richard Caring is in secret talks to buy Prada. Caring, who owns restaurants The Ivy, Le Caprice and now also the legendary nightclub Annabel's, is believed to be up against at least two private equity firms, if he does make a bid for the Italian fashion house. Caring earned his fortune supplying apparel to clients like Sir Philip Green, owner of Arcadia , and has since then segued into the leisure industry.

Meanwhile, Prada has denied these rumours and has, instead, indicated that an IPO is on the horizon. The company first announced its intention to go public in 2000 and has since postponed an IPO four times. Prada told the FT that an IPO could come in either 2008 or 2009 and that it had no interest in selling to a private equity firm or private investor. Last December, Prada was valued at €2 billion, however, the FT estimates that the company could now be worth €3 billion in the current luxury-hungry climate.
9 July 2007

Prada to launch new fragrance

Prada's first women's fragrance, an amber-based scent launched in 2004, may have been an exercise in quality. But now, Miuccia Prada is undertaking an exercise in originality. The September launch of Infusion d'Iris may be the debut of the house's second women's scent, but, because it's the first fragrance to feature Prada's original 94-year-old logo, it feels like the first time for the designer. The plain, vintage-looking bottle - designed by Miuccia - has a metal plate stamped with the Prada logo. The color of the box? The house's signature pale green hue, of course.
11 June 2007

Prada report profits

Prada reported profits of 63 per cent to 76m euros, as was reported by Reuters. The luxury Italian fashion house, which also owns Church's, Miu Miu, and Fendi, is considering selling shares to the public. In a statement on Friday, Prada stated revenues rose 8.2 percent to 1.425 billion euros and core profit gained 24 percent to 236 million euros. The profit growth was "thanks to a more favourable product mix ... and more effective stock management," among other factors, as well as "strict cost control," Prada said.

Prada first gained notoriety as a premium leather luggage company. Later, its minimal nylon bags became a hit in the early nineties and the discreet triangle logo inspired copies the world over. Patrizio Bertelli, chief executive of the company and the designer's husband, said Prada's brands were strengthening globally. "We can be confident as we look forward ... to a potential initial public offer in the near future," he said in the statement.
27 April 2007


No fur for Prada

Prada is to become the first Italian fashion house to sign up to Peta's campaign to drive fur out of fashion. Miuccia Prada, after her show, announced she was “bored with fur.” In the fashion dictionary, boredom simply means ‘not on trend,' so whether Prada is supporting out of an alliance to ban cruelty to animals or simply because the House feels it's a little too last season. But with Prada considered to be the leading fashion house for trends, Peta is hoping it will influence other designers to follow.

In 2008 it will be 20 years since Miuccia Prada launched her first womenswear collection, but the critics of her fur-less Fall 2007 show in Milan last week were as ecstatic as ever. "Milan's most aware designer has thrown a wrench in the fashion works," concluded Suzy Menkes in the International Herald Tribune. "What was new? Everything ... For all the weirdness of her vision [she is] light years ahead of the rest."

"Whatever Mrs P is on to next is bound to throw ready-made vocabulary and easy references into disarray," wrote Sarah Mower on last week. "How to capture the meaning of a show that started with a plain grey mannish coat and then moved into boxy, furry, laminated, bubbling, natural-cum-synthetic colour and texture? The colour blocking was brilliantly original and further offset by the bonkers footless two-tone socks ... Miuccia created a collection that seems destined to be one of the pivotal influences of the season."
22 March 2007


Prada gets connected

As befits any successful fashion house, Prada is expanding its current offering with a state-of-art touch-screen phone. The Italian company is launching the phone at the end of February together with the phone company LG. The phone is only 12 mm thick and sports a shiny, black finishing and carries the Prada brand name. “We were looking at a breakthrough in design,” said Prada president and chief executive Patrizio Bertelli. “We are not branding an existing product, rather Miuccia and I have been working with LG to give this new phone a very strong character and unique style.”

Scott Ahn, president and chief executive of LG said:” The two companies worked together to develop one of the most beautifully stylish handsets the market has ever seen.” The phone features a video player, high pixel camera and MP3 player.
24 January 2007


Prada phone?

The buzz surrounding Prada's new mobile phone is getting louder, with the luxury fashion house set to launch its first electronic device in association with LG this spring.

The Prada phone has been in LG's design works for more than two years. If nothing else, the Prada phone is a style statement. In describing the unit, LG uses the words "unique," "sophisticated" and "elegant." Although it also describes the phone as the world's "first completely touch screen mobile phone , with Apple's i-Phone hot on its heels with a launch planned for summer.

Unlike some ultra-exclusive phones developed with fashion labels, the Prada phone is aimed at the upper end of the mass market, putting it in the "masstige" category. It will hit shelves in Britain, France, Germany and Italy in February and cost approximately 600 Euros.
19 January 2007


Prada buys back Church’s

Prada Group recently announced that it has bought back the 55 percent stake in British footwear brand Church’s owned by private equity group Equinox. The Luxemburg-based Equinox had purchased the stake from the fashion group in 2003. Prada has herewith regained full control of the brand. “I am happy to acquire 100 percent of Church’s,” chief executive Patrizio Bertelli said in a statement. “It’s a vote of confidence in our strategy for the past two years, which has led the Group to focus on its core brands and on the best opportunities to grow revenues and profitability.”

Two years ago, after a series of acquisitions, the group decided to focus on its core brands with the biggest growth potential. As a result, some of its brands, including Jil Sander, were sold to private equity firms.

Church’s has stores in 40 countries, of which 26 are directly operated. Revenues for 2006 were estimated at €62 million, up from €56 million the year before. In its statement, Prada said it intends to “accelerate” the growth of Church’s by doubling the number of its retail stores within the next three years. Store openings are planned for the Far East, Japan, Europe and the US. Former LVMH executive Agostino Ropolo has been spearheaded to manage retail development.
27 December 2006



Hello, Prada calling

Prada will put its internationally renowned brand name to a new phone it has developed in collaboration with LG Electronics.   In a move that echoes Nokia's decision to call on designer Cath Kidston to customise its phones, LG is hoping to win over consumers by giving an existing LG phone a fashionable makeover.

The phone will have an "avant-garde" design and features new software and music functions. It will be launched in Europe early next year, followed by distribution throughout Asia.   Patrizio Bertelli, president and CEO of Prada, said: "As we do ready-to-wear and accessories, we were looking at a break-through.   "Consistently with our approach, we are not branding an existing product; rather, we have been working with LG to give this new phone a very strong character.”
18 December 2006


Is he or isn't he?

Will Prada finally be going public? When Patrizio Bertelli, the Italian luxury firm's chief executive, said last weekend that he was considering an IPO, many analysts reacted with scepticism. Like the boy who cried wolf, Bertelli has hinted at an IPO four times in recent years, which renders this time that much less likely. In the past, each effort to take the company public was thwarted by unfavourable market conditions. The most recent suggestion of an IPO follows hot on the heels of Banca Intesa's acquisition of 5 percent of Prada for £67.4 million. This values the company at £1.85 billion. Bertelli and his wife, creative director Miuccia Prada, said that an IPO next year could offer “the best opportunities to grow and develop the Prada group in the coming years.” Meanwhile, analysts believe Banca Intesa may be exerting pressure to take the company public, as that is the only way for it to profit from its investment. The Italian bank is also lending Prada £135 million through a fund with other banks. The company's debt currently stands at below £471 million, although sales were up 10 percent to £896 million last year.
6 December 2006


Banca Intesa acquires stake in Prada

The Prada Group announced Banca Intesa has acquired a 5% stake in its Italian luxury goods company through the underwriting of a €100m capital increase. At the same time, ITMD Investment BV, Prada Group's holding company, has underwritten a €200m medium-term loan agreement. According to WGSN, Prada stated the agreements will allow the group to accelerate its investment plans aimed at the global development of its core brands, which include Prada, Miu Miu, Church's, Car Shoe and Paris-based designer Azzedine Alaia.

Prada Group plans to take full ownership of Church's, acquiring the remaining 55% stake currently owned by the private equity fund Equinox. a global expansion of Church's, before its move to regain control of the vintage British footwear brand. The company further recruited recruited Agostino Ropolo, the former head of fashion and leather goods at LVMH in Italy, to open up Church's stores on the Continent and in the United States and the Far East. Prada has a Netherlands-domiciled parent company, Prada Holding N.V.
1 December 2006


Snowbunnies wear Prada

Prada has created a new freestyle line for skiers and snowboarders. The line will first be tested by instructors from the top three ski schools in Italy , Switzerland and France . The Italian fashion house started “The Leading Ski Schools” project in 1999, whereby it provides instructors with high-performance wear. The freestyle line evolved from this project.

The items and suits are made from Taslan cloth and 120-gram stuffing. All the closures are waxed and thermo-welded and drawstrings hold together hems and cuffs to ensure water and cold resistance. Trousers are packed with extra padding for extra warmth and a soft landing. The jackets are available in either navy blue with a red stripe or yellow with a silver stripe.

The instructors will give their feedback on the line at the end of the season. With this additional information Prada will expand the collection and roll it out in its directly owned stores and the 500 odd points of sale that carry Prada skiwear. The suits retail for an average price of $1,500 (£795).
27 October 2006


Prada favours jewel tones

Getting ready to show off your legs next summer. The new fashion, according to Prada, is all about skinny shorts, and jewel tones on top. Tiny shorts, and in some cases even tiny knickers, wove their way down the catwalk, in jewel colours of purple, emerald green and red. The bottom half was scant because the top half was supposed to be the focus.

So beautiful Forties-inspired blouses, boxy shirts and foxy jackets were key, in romantic satin with a glorious lustre. With their satin turbans, structured blouses, leather-belted waists and meagre shorts, the models looked half girl scout, half Gloria Swanson - an intriguing mix, to be sure, but one that looked totally new. With many designers this season proving a little directionless, it is to Prada once more that women will turn for that all-important fresh look that keeps the industry ticking over.

"Anything that makes women strong and powerful," is what Prada cited as her inspiration backstage after the show, adding that her travels in India and China had also played a hand. Colours - deep claret, purple, forest green and ruby - were rich and dramatic, all the more so for coming in satin. Textures were complex: a shift dress made of iridescent mother of pearl discs was a highlight, as was a fringed leather mini dress accompanied by a fringed leather bag.

A camouflage print was given a deluxe make-over, reworked in patches of orange and red satin. But it is the shoes and bags which will be coveted most by Prada's army of fans, for these can be enjoyed by everyone, whatever their size of thigh. The biggest news for spring? The utilitarian rucksack is back, in lustrous satin - with oversized pockets that will ensure no woman ever has to travel light again.
26 September 2006


Banca Intesa to take Prada share

Prada’s banker, Banca Intesa, is set to acquire a 5 percent stake in the international fashion house. This would value Prada at €2.75 billion. The terms of the agreement stipulate that Banca Intesa will provide the company with €300 million. €200 million of that amount will be in the form of a loan to Prada Holding NV parent ITMD Investments. Intesa will invest the remaining €100 million via a capital increase.
Financial sources have told WWD that Prada and Intesa are planning to take the company public within the next few years.
17 July 2006


Prada launches men’s fragrance

Timed to coincide with its men’s ready to wear spring/summer 2007 collection, Prada says it has written the second chapter in its story of amber fragrances – Prada Man. The new fragrance was created by Givaudan’s Daniela Andrier for the man who understands the complexities of scent. The rich, complex amber is said to intermingle with the clean, fresh scent of barber’s soap, typical of a fougere. It then evolves between a duet of olfactory contrasts – fresh vs sensual and clean vs leathery.

The flacon takes the horizontal rectangle of the female fragrance and stands it on its head, while keeping the metal plaque listing the major notes. The advertising campaign was shot in black and white by Steven Meisel, and features model Eddie Klint.

15 July 2006


Miu Miu a hit for next season

Miuccia Prada may have had eyes goggling at the plastic tops in her mainline show, but for Miu Miu she worked the basics of jacket, shirt and trouser into a modern new look. Chunky cord drawstring appeared at the hem of cropped jackets or the drawn-in paperbag waist on a narrow-legged pant added the essential twist of modernity that moves a basic silhouette into a thought-provoking new dimension.

Three button jackets were mismatched with striped pants and flat sandals – also seen at Missoni - in a raw-edged white linen tee or the triangular silhouette created by a cropped wide-shouldered blouson and skinny-legged pants. The season's colours are a mix of soft greys and neutrals or monochromatic black and white offset with cool inky navy and flashes of Yves Klein blue (a strong emerging colour trend for next summer, according to WGSN). There were nods to sportswear in the coated paper shorts and blousons, while faded patchworks added a pleasing touch of subtle pattern for soft shirts.

28 June 2006


Luna Rossa expands with watch collection

In time for the qualification round of the America’s Cup, Prada is expanding its Luna Rossa line with a licensing agreement with Hublot. The Swiss company will produce and distribute a branded line of watches for it. The label’s products will start being sold this month on Prada has also signed an agreement with travel operator Alpitour for Luna Rossa-theme trips to Valencia, Spain where the America’s Cup sailing race is taking place in July 2007.
“We are relying on an incredible level of brand awareness,” said Luna Rossa chief executive Giacomo Ovidi. “We want to enhance all categories that are relevant to the brand, in addition to the ready-to-wear collection.”

He pointed out that the watches are not exclusively meant for sailing. The five-year licensing agreement with Hublot may be extended for another five years and the watches will be sold in stores worldwide from October. They will be sold under the Luna Rossa and Hublot brands.
Making the most of the sporting event, Prada launched a line of unisex, technical Luna Rossa branded apparel earlier this year. The collection is named for the America’s Cup yacht, which is controlled by Prada chief executive Patrizio Bertelli. According to Ovidi, he is aiming for ready-to-wear sales of €20 million by July of next year. The collections consist of two main ready-to-wear lines: Replica, which replicates the sailing team’s clothes, accounts for 6 percent of total sales and activewear, the less technical line, carries Italy’s Yacht Club logo. The rtw and accessories collections are currently sold in 250 multibrand stores in Italy and 15 in Spain.
“I originally thought Replica was not very saleable,” Ovidi told WWD. “On the other hand, it’s faring well and it seems young people want to identify themselves with their idols.” He continued by saying that Luna Rossa is investing €90 million to partake in the next round of the America’s Cup. This is its third time.
20 June 2006



Prada may sell Church shoemaker stake

The Italian luxury group Prada could be forced to sell its 45-per cent stake in the top shoemaker Church's because of financial difficulties, the daily La Stampa reported yesterday.

“Despite the disposals made so far, we have not managed to achieve the hoped-for results,” an unidentified merchant banker told the daily.

“New disposals could be envisaged and in that case, the holding in Church's will be put on the market,” the banker added. “A definitive decision has yet to be taken,” he said, adding that it was down to the Prada group's chairman Patrizio Bertelli, designer Miuccia Prada's husband.

Banks are concerned about the group's heavy debts. According to the latest figures available at the end of January 2005, consolidated debt on group level was 818 million euros ($1.01bn). Prada has already got rid of two loss-making labels, Helmut Lang and Jil Sander, which had weighed heavily on its accounts for several years.

When it announced the cessation of the Helmut Lang label on March 17, the group said this was the final step in the strategic reorganisation plan announced at the end of 2005.

26 April 2006




Prada sells Helmut Lang

Prada has sold its loss-making subsidiary Helmut Lang to Link Theory Holdings, the Japanese company which produces the Theory and Joie clothing brands, a spokesman for the Italian fashion giant announced.

The sale was the last act in Prada's restructurization program which in February saw it sell its German label Jil Sander to the British private equity company Change Capital Partners.

Prada acquired both Helmut Lang and Jil Sander in 1999 and neither proved profitable.

The Prada spokesman said the Italian group would now concentrate its energies on its four remaining brands: Prada, Miu Miu, Car Shoe and Assedine Alaia .

No price was given for the Helmut Lang sale but sector sources said the company was worth in the neighborhood of 50 million euros.

Prada stopped producing the Helmut Lang line last year following the departure of the company's Austrian founder, who gave his name to the firm.

18 March 2006


Prada not shy about fur

Prada is all about fur next season. Sheepskin and fox were stitched on pockets, platform shoes and marmot fur trimmed the hoods of jackets and anoraks. Leopard-print coats featured fox-fur sleeves, and bulky overnight bags came in marmot or sheepskin. stack heels.

The mood was invariably urban, and Prada took to the street for inspiration, forfeiting the cocktail dresses and ladylike looks of past seasons.tough, Referring to her use of fur, Prada said: "It's good to be politically incorrect. I think it's time. It's a moment to be tough and savage, just like the world. We've had enough of being passive and feminine."

22 February 2006




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