Ralph Rucci exits eponymous fashion house

American fashion designer Ralph Rucci has left the fashion house he founded in 1994. Rucci is leaving 'to pursue other creative endeavors', the company said in a statement. It is not yet known what these are.

Rucci, who studied under and worked for Halston before establishing his own label, struggled to grow his business, despite the critical acclaim he garnered for his collections. In fact, he was the only American designer besides Mainbocher to become a member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, allowing him to show his couture collections in Paris. He presented his first collection in Paris in 2002, but only participated for a few seasons.

According to WWD, Rucci tried to expand his business several times, but often met with financial difficulties, forcing him to make staff cuts. In 2012, Nancy and Howard Marks provided a capital injection and became the company's first chairman and board member. Joey Laurenti joined the label as CEO in May of this year.

Although there is no concrete evidence, WWD speculates that Rucci's departure may have been the result of a clash of visions for the company. Nancy Marks has said in the past that the intention was to turn Rucci 'into an accessible, modern, American fashion brand'. This would not have gone down well with Rucci, who was known for adhering to a luxurious and refined design aesthetic. He is said to have been unwilling to compromise on this.

Neither party offered any details on the parting. Rucci only said that he was excited for the future and that he wished 'everyone at the company well'. Laurenti made a similar statement.

The company said it would name a new creative director before the year's end. Meanwhile, the coming pre-fall and fall collections will be designed by the in-house team.

Luxury hosiery and lingerie label Wolford has named designer Grit Seymour as its Creative Director.

In her new role, Seymour will oversee the design of future collection and act as an advisory for the brand's overall identity whilst helping drive the brand's ongoing development. Her first contribution to the brand will be seen in Wolford's 2016 spring/summer collection.

“We are especially pleased to have Grit Seymour join Wolford in this key position,” commented Axel Dreher, speaker of the Management Board of Wolford. “ "She is not only a well-known creative personality, but is also extremely well versed in the challenges of developing established brands on an ongoing basis.”

Seymour has worked for a number of international fashion labels in the past, including brands such as Donna Karan and Max Mara. She has been credited with crafting the first women's collection for Hugo Boss and served as an advisor for numerous brands. Prior to taking on the role at Wolford, she lectured in experimental clothing and textile design at the Berlin University of the Arts.

“With her extensive experience, ranging from design to in-store branding, she will play a major role in increasing the charisma of the Wolford label,” concluded Dreher.

Jaeger is lining up a former Asos director to be chairman as it prepares for ambitious international expansion.

Founded 130 years ago, Jaeger is currently owned by Jon Moulton’s Better Capital and is regarded as an affordable luxury brand. The company is thought be close to appointing Peter Williams to run its board. Williams spent 12 years at Selfridges, ending as chief executive from 2003 to 2004.

Williams was senior independent director at Asos until last year and chairs Boohoo.com, another online retailer, as well as sitting on the boards of Rightmove and Cineworld.

In 2011 Harold Tillman sold Jaeger to Better Capital. The company currently operates 45 stores and exports to nearly 40 countries around the world.

German outdoor apparel label Jack Wolfskin has tapped Melody Harris-Jensbach as its new Chief Executive Officer, with immediate effect.

Harris-Jensbach brings with her over 30 years of experience within the industry, first cutting her teeth as the head designer for Viventy by Bernd Berger. In 2008 she was appointed international product director for Esprit, before becoming vice-chairman and chief product officer at Puma. Then later in 2012, she left the sportswear retailer to take on the same role at Esprit.

She will be succeeding Michael Rupp, who has chosen not to extend his contract with Jack Wolfskin for personal reasons, reported Reuters. Rupp was appointed CEO of Jack Wolfskin in 2012, taking over the reins from the label's co-founder Manfred Hall who oversaw the its development for nearly a quarter of a century.

Hell exited the company in 2011, after US private equity investor Blackstone acquired the label for nearly 700 million euros.

\'Normcore\' fashion retailer Gap has said goodbye to Carolyne Rapp, director of global fashion and creative concepts, who “quietly” left her role at the company.

Sources close to Rapp and the retailer revealed to WWD that Rapp, who is still under contract until the end of the year, position had been terminated and that it was unlikely Gap would hire a replacement.

Some insiders believe that Rapp's exit from the retailer could be linked to the additional of Mara Chen, who was hired by Gap's creative leader Rebekka Bay last December as Vice President of Global design. However one sources stressed that Chen’s and Rapp’s roles did not cross in any way.

Prior to taking on her role at Gap last January, Rapp was creative manager at Cos for H&M, where she was responsible for all creative communications and worked closely with its designer teams. She was credited for her work in Cos Magazine, its look books as well as online.

Luxury fashion brand Tomas Maier has appointed Giuseppe Giovannetti as its new CEO. According to WWD, Giovannetti, who currently heads up Bottega Veneta\'s Americas division, will begin his new job this Monday and will report to Marco Bizzarri, CEO of Kering's luxury couture and leather goods division.

Giovannetti is taking over from Daniela Ott, who left the firm due to personal reasons. According to Kering, Ott successfully started up the business and integrated it into the luxury goods group, after Kering took a major stake in the brand last November.

Tomas Maier is based in New York, where it has an office and showroom and will soon open a shop on Madison Avenue. Giovannetti has been brought on board to continue to expand the brand.

According to WWD, Giovannetti has expert knowledge of the luxury industry and business development. He joined Bottega Veneta in 2001, when it was still part of the Gucci Group and worked in various capacities for the brand, culminating in his role as president of the Americas division.

This appointment is the latest in a series of new appointments within Kering's luxury goods division.

Brandsdistribution.com: Now available in 170 countries

E-commerce is one of the most promising businesses for the fashion industry. Alibaba\'s record-breaking IPO, which ended its first day on the stock exchange recording a 38 percent increase and a capitalisation of 231 billion dollars, is atangible example of this.

Driven by the number of different scales it can operate on, niche business models are taking hold in Europe, too. This is the case with Brandsdistribution, which operates in 170 markets, selling clothing and accessories at discounted prices to small shops, chains, factory outlets and e-commerce platforms such as Vente Privee and Privalia. The Italian company, which is a subsidiary of IDT S.p.A., is set to close 2014 with a turnover of 20 million euros. Once 50 million turnover has been reached, a stock exchange flotation is also in the future plans. Yankeemagazines interviewed Angelo Muratore, chairman of the company with its headquarters in Turin, to understand the potential of this market.

What are the distinguishing features of the business to business market?

Our company was founded in 2008 and the winning idea was to establish ourselves in a niche market, where there were no large competitors. Although, now there are businesses which have decided to exploit the web by selling stock, they are small and operate at local level.

How did you manage to break into 170 markets and what are your strongest points?

The first place I can say our strength lies is in our offering of designer products at very attractive prices, some of which are discounted up to 80 percent. The shopkeeper or outlet is interested in efficiently finding quality merchandise, at the right price. It hardly matters to them whether it comes from the internet or via other sources. The fact that we are online has enabled us to get ourselves known via numerous search engines. Another one of our strong points is our newsletter which is sent out in six different languages (English, French, Spanish, German and Italian) to 80,000 registered resellers. We attend our greatness business where the online culture is the most developed, such as Northern Europe.

Where does the bulk of your turnover come from?

70 percent of our turnover comes from Europe, 7-8 percent of which comes from Italy. The remaining percentage comes from the rest of the world: we are growing in the US, but we need to be really well set-up for this market, which requires large volumes of goods. In regards to the sales of merchandise, 65 percent of our turnover comes from the sale of accessories and 35 percent from clothing sales.

How are things going in your Chinese market? A few months ago you signed an agreement with a local operator, how is that working out?

Yes, last March we signed an agreement with Xiu.com, a fashion and luxury site, and we are carrying on with our expansion within the Asian market, even though China is a difficult market for us to crack because of the import duty on the products.

Brandsdistribution.com: Now available in 170 countries

How do you organise your logistics?

Our logistics partner is DHL. The company takes care both of despatches and of storing the goods.

Who are your clients?

Resellers, including small ones (given that the minimum order is 200 euros), clothing chains, outlets and e-commerce sites which sell brands at discounted prices. In fact, being an international business, we put ourselves forward as an export consultant for brands which want to get themselves known in new markets or strengthen their presence in certain areas. Young designers making their entrance into the fashion industry are among our clients. Ana Lublin and Made In Italia, two own-label brands which we have launched recently, are now exported to more than 60 countries.

Would you ever diversify or expand your business, like Alibaba, which operates via several different online platforms?

Our current objective is to establish ourselves as a privileged distributor and exclusive reseller for companies which want to sell online, but do not have the expertise and their own e-commerce channel. Among the brands exclusively distributed by us are No Limits, Sparco School and Rochas shoes. We have also decided to open our marketplace to third-party resellers who will have the option of selling their designer-label stock for fifteen days on Brandsdistribution.com.

They may have just been acquitted for tax evasion, however Italian design duo Dolce & Gabbana have not left on great terms with the local government.

In the aftermath of the proceedings the designers are to return an award given to them bythe city of Milan just days after they were cleared of tax evasion by the Italian Court of Justice.

Stefano Gabbana wrote on Twitter that they would return the City of Milan's Ambrogino gold medal, with the long-running court case having caused bad disputes with at least one city councillor who had accused them of being “notorious tax evaders”, Ansa reported.

The award was given to the pair in 2009.

Coats, leading industrial thread and consumer textile crafts business, is pleased to announce the appointment of Rajiv Sharma, Global CEO, Coats Industrial, as an Executive Director of the Coats Board effective December 1, 2014.

Sharma joined Coats in November 2010 to head the industrial division which, under his leadership, has been at the forefront of product and service innovation for the global apparel and footwear industries, consistently delivering profitable sales growth. The division also houses the fast growing speciality business, which produces high technology threads and yarns from performance materials for non-apparel and footwear uses such as tracer threads, automotive, aramids and fibre optics.

Commenting on the appointment of Sharma, Mike Clasper, Chairman, Coats said, “Rajiv’s appointment reflects the significant progress that has been made in the industrial division over the last four years under his leadership, as well as his strong commercial and operational skills. Rajiv’s experience will prove valuable to the Board and to Coats as we move towards once again becoming a listed company.”

Before joining Coats, Sharma worked at Shell where he was Regional General Manager, Asia-Pacific for the multi-billion dollar aviation fuels and lubricants business. After a successful turnaround he moved to Shell Upstream as General Manager Commercial, Asia-Pacific, gasification and clean coal energy. During his career, he has also worked at Westinghouse, SAAB, Honeywell and GE, and his experience spans sales, marketing, M&A, business development and general management. The majority of his roles have been focused on growing or turning around businesses and he has worked across the US, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa. He has been a board member of several joint ventures in Shell and GE across Asia-Pacific and was chairman of a Sinopec-Shell JV that had coal to liquid operations in China.

Photographer David Armstrong dies age 60

Photographer David Armstrong has died at the age of 60 after losing a battle from liver cancer.

Beloved for his sublime, sensual and softly-lit portraits of young men, Armstrong first rose to prominence as a cult photographer of 70s and 80s New York alongside Nan Goldin. The pair first met as teenagers and their work was shown together at PS1's groundbreaking New York/New Wave exhibition in 1981.

In 2001, Armstrong moved into fashion photography when Hedi Slimane enlisted him to take backstage images for Dior Homme. He went on to shoot for publications including Dazed and Another Man as well as photographing campaigns for Burberry, Alexander Wang and Bottega Veneta.