Roberto Cavalli acquired by Dubai-based property developer

Troubled fashion house Roberto Cavalli has been acquired by a Dubai-based property developer.Bosses at the Italian brand, known for its exotic prints and sand-blasted jeans, announced in late March that they were closing all stores across North America…

Troubled fashion house Roberto Cavalli has been acquired by a Dubai-based property developer.

Bosses at the Italian brand, known for its exotic prints and sand-blasted jeans, announced in late March that they were closing all stores across North America and were seeking to make a deal with creditors to keep the company going while they searched for an investor.

After months of speculation over who may take over the label, editors at WWD reported on Tuesday that executives at Vision Investment Co. LLC had signed a “binding agreement” with those at the Florence-based Roberto Cavalli to “acquire 100 per cent” of the company.

Vision Investment Co. is overseen by Hussain Sajwani, an Emirati billionaire property developer, who is the founder and chairman of real estate development company DAMAC Properties. Based in Dubai, the company provides residential, commercial and leisure properties and has presences across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, and the U.K.

As the deal is a complex one, with some aspects to be approved by a court in Milan, the fashion publication reported that lawyers for Cavalli need to make an agreement with creditors by early August, with the arrangement to be finalised the following month.

No financial details about the deal have been announced.

Since 2015, Italian private equity fund Clessidra SGR has controlled Roberto Cavalli with a 90 per cent stake, along with other minor partners, including the Florentine designer himself.

Former Versace executive Gian Giacomo Ferraris was brought onboard in July 2016 to help turn around the company, and following the departure of creative director Peter Dundas, British designer Paul Surridge was employed as head designer in May 2017. However, Surridge confirmed plans to exit his post in March, and a successor has not yet been named.

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Roberto Cavalli closes all stores in North America

Roberto Cavalli bosses have closed all stores across North America as they embark on a major restructure.The Italian fashion house, known for its exotic prints and sand-blasted jeans, has faced financial struggles in recent months, with executives conf…

Roberto Cavalli bosses have closed all stores across North America as they embark on a major restructure.

The Italian fashion house, known for its exotic prints and sand-blasted jeans, has faced financial struggles in recent months, with executives confirming on Friday (29Mar19) that they were seeking to make a deal with creditors to keep the company going while they searched for an investor, though by Monday all eight stores and four outlets in the U.S., including boutiques in upscale locations in Beverly Hills and Manhattan, had been shuttered.

And on Monday, a Cavalli spokesperson announced that Art Fashion Corporation – the name of the brand’s U.S. subsidiary – would liquidate under Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code by 4 April as part of a concerted attempt to save the business.

Approximately 93 employees have had their contracts terminated, while New York-based Salvatore Tramuto, the chief executive officer of the North American branch, has resigned.

According to editors at Business of Fashion, Art Fashion Corporation has operated at a loss for the past five years, with the company losing approximately $17.8 million (£13.6 million) in 2018, excluding a $13 million (£10 million) marketing budget.

Since 2015, Italian private equity fund Clessidra SGR has controlled Roberto Cavalli with a 90 per cent stake, along with other minor partners, including the Florentine designer himself.

Former Versace executive Gian Giacomo Ferraris was brought onboard in July 2016 to help turn around the company, and following the departure of creative director Peter Dundas, British designer Paul Surridge was employed as head designer in May 2017. However, Surridge confirmed plans to exit his post last week.

“I have given much consideration to this decision and reached the conclusion that the mission I have signed has changed and enters a new direction with a new perspective (sic),” he wrote on his Instagram page. “I now wish to focus on other projects that I put aside in order to achieve our common goals with Roberto Cavalli Group. It has been an honour to work for this iconic Florentine company with a unique heritage.”

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Paul Surridge confirms exit from Roberto Cavalli

Paul Surridge is leaving Roberto Cavalli after almost two years at the brand.The British designer joined the Italian label in May 2017, succeeding Peter Dundas as creative director. However, rumours began to swirl last week (ends24Mar19) that Surridge …

Paul Surridge is leaving Roberto Cavalli after almost two years at the brand.

The British designer joined the Italian label in May 2017, succeeding Peter Dundas as creative director.

However, rumours began to swirl last week (ends24Mar19) that Surridge was looking to exit his post, and on Monday (25Mar19), he took to Instagram to confirm his plans.

“I have given much consideration to this decision and reached the conclusion that the mission I have signed has changed and enters a new direction with a new perspective (sic),” he wrote. “I now wish to focus on other projects that I put aside in order to achieve our common goals with Roberto Cavalli Group. It has been an honour to work for this iconic Florentine company with a unique heritage. I want to thank everyone who has made this journey possible, the internal teams and especially Gian Giacomo Ferraris who has given me outstanding support and will remain a mentor.”

Representatives for Roberto Cavalli Group and chief executive officer Gian Giacomo Ferraris have yet to comment on Surridge’s departure.

In the days leading up to the designer’s exit, editors at WWD reported that his decision was due to a lack of investment in the development and refurbishment of the store network, as well as in marketing and communications. He was also alleged to have been unhappy about the level of support offered to the design team.

“The decision last summer to look for an external investor and, more recently, to not provide any more funding have made the original project impossible, and therefore triggered Paul’s decision to look elsewhere,” one source divulged to the fashion publication.

Prior to joining Cavalli, Surridge predominantly worked in the menswear departments for labels including Prada, Burberry, Calvin Klein, and Jil Sander. In June 2018, the designer unveiled a full menswear line for Roberto Cavalli, and most recently showed a collection as part of Milan Fashion Week in February.

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