Puig's Plan Appears Achieved: Carolina Herrera to Hand Design Reins Over to Wes Gordon

Puig's Plan Appears Achieved: Carolina Herrera to Hand Design Reins Over to Wes Gordon
From WWD - February 9, 2018

Spanish fragrance and fashion group Puig appears to have finally gotten its wish in Carolina Herrera stepping down as designer of her namesake brand and handing the creative reins to Wes Gordon.

The move ends a long-running sagaand adds to the turmoilat the company Herrera founded 37 years ago, one that exposed internecine battles between the designer and the management of her firm as well as its parent Puig. It ended in a high-profile legal battle between the House of Herrera and her archrival company, Oscar de la Renta, when her then-president and chief executive officer and top executives at Puig attempted to push her out in favor of younger, hipper designers.

Herrera appeared to have fought off that attempted coupbut it seems only for a time. She shortly afterward brought in Gordon and, after her final bow at Mondays runway show at the Museum of Modern Art, he will now become the brands creative director and she will become its global brand ambassador.

Herrera and Gordon declined an interview request via Lauren Astry, vice president of global marketing and communications.

The brand has always generated the vast majority of its revenues from fragrancesat last count there were 22which is Puigs specialty. In 2012, the last time for which the firm has released figures, Puig put 2011 consolidated global retail sales for Herrera at $1.3 billion. One source said the companys sales are now nearing $1.5 billion. Executives at Puig declined comment Friday.

But Herrera becoming the global brands ambassador does raise questions over the roles of her two youngest daughters, Carolina Herrera Bez and Patricia Lansing. Herrera Jr. works in fragrance from Madrid and Lansing is in the New York design studio.

The company also has yet to address whether it will continue to work with photographer Mario Testino, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by several male models. The Peruvian lensman is practically next of kin with Herrera, who recruited him in July 2015 to shoot his first global campaign for the house. Testino has shot the campaigns since that time.

Executives at Carolina Herrera have not yet indicated whether they will continue to do so. A spokeswoman for Testino did not respond to requests for comment Friday.

Known to be well-mannered, polite, big on tailoring and business-minded, Gordons temperament, as much as his design aesthetic, seems to be right in line with the Herrera ethosand could be the reason she picked him while digging her heels in over Puigs earlier attempt to install Monse designers Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia as co-creative directors. That resulted in two uncharacteristically tumultuous years for the New York label, during which time the brand cycled through a series of second-in-command designers.


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