Balenciaga Heads West, SJP, the Judge, Rebecca Moses Celebrates Women – WWD

THE BIG BLUE: Following the announcement that LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton will be a premium partner of the Paris 2024 Olympics, Louis Vuitton said Monday that it has signed French swimmer Léon Marchand as its latest brand ambassador.

Marchand was named last week as the first athlete to be sponsored by LVMH, the parent company of Vuitton, Dior and other brands, ahead of the Games. It expects to partner with another four or five athletes who will benefit from financial support and privileged introductions to the group’s houses.

Given the champion swimmer’s streak of winning performances, Vuitton wasted no time in snapping him up.

Hot off the World Aquatics Championships in Japan, where he broke Michael Phelps’ last individual world record, Marchand joins a list of Vuitton ambassadors from the world of sports who include tennis players Carlos Alcaraz and Naomi Osaka; skier Eileen Gu, and soccer player Sam Li Sirong, among others.

“Driven by the same spirit of perseverance and excellence held dear to Louis Vuitton, Léon Marchand continues to set the bar ever higher within his discipline,” the brand said in a statement.

“At only 21 years old, the Olympic swimmer who first participated in the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 has shown unprecedented achievement and is one of the best chances of victory and medals for the French team in several events,” it added. 

LVMH will reveal more details of its Olympic partnerships in the runup to the opening ceremony, scheduled to take place on July 26, 2024.

Antoine Arnault, head of communication, image and environment at LVMH, said several of its houses will play a special role during the Games, with jeweler Chaumet designing the medals, and Vuitton, Dior, Berluti, Sephora and the Moët Hennessy wines and spirits division also taking part.

While Arnault declined to comment on the role of Vuitton, the world’s biggest luxury brand has a history of sports collaborations, producing trophy cases for partners including the NBA, America’s Cup, the FIFA World Cup and the Rugby World Cup.

The brand is likely to have some involvement with the Olympic medal ceremonies, sources said. — JOELLE DIDERICH

CALIFORNIA DREAMING: Balenciaga is the latest European brand to succumb to the lure of California.

The Paris-based fashion house plans to unveil its fall 2024 men’s and women’s collections with a fashion show in Los Angeles on Dec. 2. The venue and other details are still under wraps.

Balenciaga operates a flagship boutique with an industrial warehouse decor at 338 North Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

This marks the second time Balenciaga’s creative director Demna has chosen an American city to unveil a new collection: In May 2022 during the resort 2023 season, the brand staged a runway show on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, memorable for its models in full latex suits with only their ponytails, braids and thick fake eyelashes poking through slits.

Balenciaga's Demna

Demna is creative director of Balenciaga.


Balenciaga will also stage a fashion show during Paris Fashion Week, which is scheduled from Sept. 25 to Oct. 3. Demna will unveil the brand’s summer 2024 collection in the French capital.

It looks like the Kering-owned fashion house might be the first to kick off the sprawling pre-fall collection season, which usually encompasses destination shows.

Chanel is to show its next Métiers d’Art collection in Manchester, England, on Dec. 7.

California has become a hot spot for destination shows the last few years, with Versace, Ralph Lauren, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Celine and Saint Laurent among brands that have mounted runway events there. — MILES SOCHA

JUDGE PARKER: Etsy called in a special set of style eyes for its annual design competition.

“And Just Like That” star Sarah Jessica Parker joined Etsy’s trend team, led by Dayna Isom Johnson, to handpick 150 finalists and category winners from thousands of entries around the world. The winners of the fifth annual Etsy design awards included grand prize winner and Venezuelan-born designer Maria Gabriela Duque. A former electrical engineering student, Duque’s passions led her to create modern, sustainable handbags from vegan cactus leather.

Parker didn’t hesitate when asked about how she’d incorporate the winning design. “I’m obviously quite impressed with Maria Duque’s grand prize-winning convertible cactus leather bag and all of the creative ways you can style it. It could be worn as a crossbody with a pair of jeans, or by the wooden bangle as a clutch to a more formal event. No matter how the bag is worn, all of the intricate handcrafted details can add a lovely pop of color and personality to an outfit,” she said. Parker will not be part of the mentorship for the awards.

Sarah Jessica Parker

Sarah Jessica Parker

Courtesy Photo

Duque takes home $25,000 and a suite of perks, including an Etsy gift card, listing credits, ad credits, a winner shop badge and the like. The two other award winners received $1,500 and the marketing perks. Winners included the cotton and hemp sweatshirt from Object Apparel in men’s design, and embroidered sailor pants by Sweet Allene in women’s design. Additional finalists included Lauren Winter Co.’s knot jumpsuit, Justin Duance’s gold signet ring made using a sandstone mold for a more natural look, and a botanical dyed wool beret from ElizaDotDesign, among others.

Though a robust prize package, Etsy design awards winners and finalists don’t receive any boost in search placements under Etsy Ads. Etsy said it will promote the winning sellers on-site and across marketing. Today, Etsy counts 5.9 million active sellers. — KALEY ROSHITSH

MOSES’ TECHNICOLOR WORLD: “It’s celebration of women living in Technicolor with ironic humor, grand style and a big tablespoon of hope.”

That’s how Rebecca Moses characterized her exhibit, titled “Bubblegum, Lipstick and Hope,” coming to Donna and Gabby Karan’s Urban Zen store and Tutto Il Giorno restaurant in Sag Harbor on Long Island’s East End, in conjunction with Ralph Pucci International. “It’s creative portraiture inspired by real women who will remain anonymous,” Moses said.

Her exhibit of female portraiture, said the artist, reflects hope, passion, determination and the desire to stay true to one’s own voice even in the most challenging of times. “How do we hold on to our sanity, aspirations, and dreams when life challenges become unbearable?” said Moses, explaining her vision. “In a sense, when I lifted my pens and brushes, it was like Alice falling into the rabbit hole, a chance to dream. It was an escape to a world I wanted to envision. Sometimes you just need to pop a bubble and put on some red lipstick to restore your hope in life and belief in one’s self.”

The body of work expands Moses’ signature style — connecting art with fashion – and pays tribute to women. She also said the exhibit “speaks to the state of mind that has emerged from the struggles and silver linings of the last few years.”

From the Rebecca Moses exhibit.

From the Rebecca Moses exhibit.

Rebecca Moses

Donna Karan said she’s known Moses for many years and has watched her grow as a designer, mother, world traveler and artist. “She is able to capture the art of a woman in all her power, strength, style and individuality,” Karan said. “Each and every painting captures the unique style of every woman, from their environment and their fashion to their expression and lifestyle. What an honor it is to know Rebecca and see the expression of her soul.”

Karan’s daughter Gabby added, “Rebecca’s style and her passion for fashion is so apparent in her work and has enlightened the walls of Tutto and connected the elements of food, culture, individuality and style into one colorful story.”

The exhibit features 100 of Moses’ works and opens Aug. 6. This is the New York-based artist’s seventh solo exhibit. She has shown in the U.S, Italy and Japan and is represented by Ralph Pucci International in the U.S. and Nilufar Gallery in Italy. She also is member emeritus of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. — DAVID MOIN

From the Rebecca Moses exhibit.

FIRST TIME AT NYFW: Retrofete, cofounded by Ohad Seroya and Aviad Klin, will stage its first runway show on Sept. 11 at 6 p.m. at an undisclosed Manhattan location.

They are showing off CFDA’s “American Fashion Collections” calendar. The show goes up against Gypsy Sport, which is on the CFDA calendar.

Founded in 2018, Retrofete is sold at such retailers as Net-a-porter, Neiman Marcus, Fwrd and Revolve, among others. The brand opened its first store at 99 Spring Street in SoHo last December.

A look from Retrofete.

A look from Retrofete.

Courtesy of Retrofete

“This year marks our five-year anniversary so it’s only fitting that we celebrate with our debut runway show,” Seroya said. “The process of watching this collection come to life at such a large scale is truly inspiring, and something I’ve always dreamt of. This season we unveil a new era for the brand showcasing an expansion of categories and collaborations. We are forever proud of how far Retrofete has come.”

Retrofete manufactures such categories as dresses, tops, bottoms, jumpsuits, outerwear, swim, accessories and handbags. The brand has been worn by celebrities such as Selena Gomez, Gwyneth Paltrow, Taylor Swift, former First Lady Michelle Obama, Paris Hilton and Jennifer Lopez.

As reported, other brands showing off the calendar are Coach, which is staging a fashion show Sept. 7 at 7:30 p.m., and Kate Spade New York, which is showing the morning of Sept. 8. The official American Collection calendar runs from Sept. 8 through Sept. 13. — LISA LOCKWOOD

ALL ABOUT HARRY: Barbie isn’t the only pop culture figure making noise. Harry Potter is stepping out this summer with a fresh delivery of merchandise.

Harry Potter-themed backpacks, crossbody bags and top-handle bags, 16 styles in all, launch Aug. 15 at Fred Segal,, BoxLunch and a slew of other specialty stores through a collaboration between Warner Bros. Discovery Global Consumer Products and Concept One Accessories. That’s well ahead of the next Harry Potter movie expected to come out next year, and the HBO “Harry Potter” series expected in 2025.

A Harry Potter-themed backpack.

A Harry Potter-themed backpack.

Courtesy image

“It’s a huge fan base,” said Sam Hafif, chief executive officer of Concept One Accessories, a global licensed accessories company with a track record of partnering with major studios on merchandise themed around pop culture and action hero figures, as well as recent tie-ups with FUBU, Brooks Brothers and Smoke Rise.

Hafif said the combination of the Harry Potter-themed elements, together with the Hollywood aesthetic of the Fred Segal brand, has “opened our minds to create unique products” for Harry Potter fans, and that the August drop “is the springboard for future exciting collaborations we have planned over the next year.” Harry Potter and Warner Bros. “has been one of the most fun collaborations we’ve ever had the opportunity to work on,” Hafif said.

The offering, given its price range of $80 to $100, is geared for adults, 18 to 35 years old, who grew up with Harry Potter, or just like the look. The first Harry Potter book was released in 1996, and the first Harry Potter movie was released in 2001.

Separately, last year, Concept One signed a licensing agreement with Fred Segal to produce merchandise, which begins with leather bags expected to launch in October.

Segal, who founded his business in 1961, passed away in 2021. He was a retail innovator who designed his own collection, collaborated with designers, artists and emerging brands to create unique capsules, and elevated the retail experience with denim bars, shops-in-shop and immersive experiences. Fred Segal opened its Sunset Boulevard flagship in 2018, and expanded to Studio City and Malibu, California; Las Vegas, and Asia. — D.M.

A Harry Potter-themed bag.

NEW ROLE: Paul Rosengard, former executive vice president, head of wholesale and global licensing at True Religion, has lined up a new gig as a senior adviser to WHP Global.

WHP Global owns and manages a portfolio of brands approaching $7 billion in global retail sales including Anne Klein, Joseph Abboud, Joe’s Jeans, Bonobos, Isaac Mizrahi, Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us, and has a 60 percent interest in Express. The company was ranked number 10 top global licensor by License Global.

Paul Rosengard

Paul Rosengard

Rosengard had been with True Religion for four years and left in March. He was succeeded in May by Jim Kushner as executive vice president, North America wholesale sales, as reported.

Earlier in Rosengard’s career he was president, North America at Anatwine, a division of Zalando SE, and before that was chief executive officer and owner of Boston Traders, and president, men’s apparel at Li & Fung USA. He has also held top posts at Perry Ellis America and Randa Accessories.

Rosengard, who couldn’t be reached for comment, reports to Effy Zinkin, chief operating officer of WHP Global.

“We are pleased to welcome Paul Rosengard to WHP Global as a senior adviser for our fashion vertical. Paul’s extensive industry knowledge and relationships will help drive growth and create opportunities for our fashion brands as we continue to expand their reach around the world,” Zinkin told WWD.

In addition to his apparel role, Rosengard is an adjunct professor and board member of Parsons School of Design, and earlier spent 16 years as an adjunct professor at Fashion Institute of Technology. — L.L.

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