Exclusive: Founding family try and retake Escada with fashion heavy-hitters - Spear's Magazine

Exclusive: Founding family try and retake Escada with fashion heavy-hitters

A source close to the bankrupt fashion house Escada has revealed that the former CEO of Gucci and the owner of an upmarket French department store are assisting Sven Ley, the son of Escada’s founder, in his bid to buy the company back.

By Josh Spero, Senior Editor

A source close to the bankrupt fashion house Escada has revealed that the former CEO of Gucci and the owner of an upmarket French department store are assisting Sven Ley, the son of Escada’s founder, in his bid to buy the company back.

The source said that fashion heavyweights Giacomo Santucci and Maurizio Borletti were a key part of Sven Ley’s bid. Santucci left Prada as senior executive in 2001 and Gucci as president and CEO in 2004 after taking over from Domenico de Sole: “[Santucci] worked with Tom Ford to rebuild Gucci and he globalised Prada.”

Borletti is the chairman and managing partner of the Borletti Group, a European investment group which has made €6 billion of acquisitions in four years, including the chains Printemps and La Rinascente, which has twelve department stores across Italy.

The most severe problem facing any buyer of Escada, whose bondholders rejected a rescue plan last August, is the inertia of the company: “The business is global,” the source said, “however it has lost all momentum, in a similar situation to Gucci 15 years ago, and has lost its lustre. It lost its momentum when the Ley family left. It needs a big push.” This resurrection is what makes Santucci’s involvement particularly attractive.

The Leys – Sven and his wife Zoe Appleyard-Ley are both participating – will make it a “direct competitor to Chanel and Dior. It still has the infrastructure and presence and brand. If you go to the Oscars, you have a dozen actresses wearing Escada dresses.”

If employees’ opinions are anything to go by, the Leys are firm favourites: “They are completely excited. Last week when there were due diligence presentations at the company headquarters in Munich, Zoe and Sven walked into the building and were cheered by the employees.” Many of the employees, the source added, had been with Escada since Sven’s parents, Margaretha and Wolfgang Ley, founded it in 1978 and were loyal to the Ley name.

The company must be sold before November 13th or it will go into administration.



 

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