Fosun: Joann Cheng on building a proper Chinese luxury group

Few groups have excited as much attention in luxury in the past few years as Fosun, a giant Chinese conglomerate that has gradually built up a significant position as player in fashion and elegance in Europe.

The highest-profile acquisition by its division Fosun Fashion Group has been Lanvin, the oldest haute couture house in Paris. Though the Fosun Fashion Group has also acquired control or large minority stakes in a quintet of diverse, but definitely prestigious luxury marques. Like Wolford, the most famous high-end hosiery business, which Fosun acquired in 2018, same year as Lanvin. The conglomerate even created a Fosun Fashion Group, which also owns a significant majority stake in Caruso, one of Italy’s greatest manufacturer of high-end tailoring. And has a controlling stake in St. John Knits, and also in Tom Tailor, the German clothing retailer.

Hence, in recent seasons, the chairman of Fosun Fashion Group (FFG), Joann Cheng, has been a quiet, yet much noted presence at Lanvin shows, joined in the front row by FFG Vice President David Chan.  So, we caught up with Cheng and Chan to discover their vision on how Fosun plans to build a profitable luxury group.
Quoted company on the Hong Kong since 2007, Fosun is a diversified conglomerate with stakes in real estate, pharmaceuticals, health care, wealth management and insurance. In 2018, Fosun earned record profit of RMB 13.4 billion or ($2 billion) on turnover of RMB 109.4 billion ($16.5 billion). Though privately owned, the group is perceived to be an expression of China’s drive to achieve greater soft power worldwide over the next decade. It certainly has deep pockets and has bought stakes in prestige global brands. It owns Wolverhampton Wanderers football team, currently ranked sixth in the English Premier League; over 90% of Club Med; some 18% of Tsingtao beer and several prestige buildings like the 230-meter tall residential tower at 126 Madison in Manhattan and 28 Liberty Street, a 60-story building near Wall Street.

However, its most mediatic investments are surely in fashion and luxury, via Fosun Fashion Group, which is part of the conglomerate’s quaintly named Happiness segment, meaning direct to consumer lifestyle brands for middle class consumption. This even includes a minority stake in Le Cirque du Soleil.

Cheng is very much new-generation-business Chinese. She attended Shanghai University of Finance and Economics and has a masters from China Europe International Business School, also in Shanghai. After college, she became an auditor at KPMG for 10 years, before moving to commercial finance and private equity funds prior to joining Fosun. Cheng began as CFO of its USD fund, before moving to post-investment portfolio management.

“In 2016, we began to realize that fashion was a very seasonal business. That it required a long-term commitment and vision in order to really build up a brand. So in 2017, we took a much more direct interest in this portfolio. We do not run it like investors. We are really like a corporate type of group with long-term view,” she explained over coffee in Paris.

In early 2019, the group also created the China-based Fosun Brand Management Company, a specialized team designed to operate brands in China, which handles real estate, opening stores and managing those boutiques. Both for FFG’s quintet of brands, and by offering those services  to other medium-sized external marques that want to come into China. Fosun Brand Management Company has already inked a deal with the Marquee Group, a US fund that includes brands such as Martha Stewart, Ben Sherman, BCBG, Body Glove and Bruno Magli of O. J. Simpson fame, to do business with them in China.
But, Fosun itself is clearly more attracted to higher-end European fashion.

“Fosun accumulated experience first-hand as a minority stake in Caruso, and we found that this was a very attractive investment even if it needed  a long-term commitment. Now, we have brands that have very unique DNA. St. John is specialized in knitwear, Caruso a luxury men’s suiting; Lanvin is high luxury independent couture house; and Wolford is a key brand for tights and bodies. So, they are all quite unique. So, we were very attracted by this sort of brand equity. We want to support these brands to grow in their home country and to build them in the China market. So far, for all them, China is very small compared to home market. For Lanvin, for example, China it’s about 20% of total retail. While we are about to launch Caruso in China,” expounded Cheng.

None of the five are as prestigious as Lanvin, one of Paris most storied couture labels, which had a glorious period of editorial support and growth during the 15-year tenure of creative director Alber Elbaz. However, after his dismissal in 2015, Lanvin rumbled through two other designers, and lost clients and turnover at an alarming rate before Fosun acquired control of the house in spring 2018 with a commitment to invest €100 million.

Since taking control, Fosun installed the experienced French executive Jean-Philippe Hecquet as CEO and named Bruno Sialelli as creative director, who has gone on to win largely positive reviews from the unforgiving front-row fashion reviewers.

“Lanvin is very reputable in the Asian market. It’s a truly unique brand – with long Parisian history, and an amazing archive, which puts value into the  brand. So, that brand deserves a larger business. And we really believe that Bruno has the talent to bring back the creative tradition of the brand. So, basically, we are determined it bring this brand back on track,” insists Cheng.

Cheng is voluble in her praise for Sialelli, whose collections have won wide applause for their exotic novelty and subtle use of Lanvin’s DNA.

“Bruno has this unique talent. Like when you see the shows, the whole mood is more refreshed, with a younger component, yet still with a brand heritage component. And, Bruno used lots of elements from the archives, like the logo and much more,” she enthuses.
Moving quickly, they have moved the entire creative team out of multiple offices spread over three buildings near its historic Faubourg Saint-Honoré flagship and installed them all in seven floors in one building on hip rue Saint-Augustin, in the new Silicon Valley of Paris in the western end of the 2nd arrondissement.

“Being newcomers, we can install best practices,” Cheng notes.

Lanvin also opened three stores last year in China: two in Shanghai and one in Hong Kong K11, the multi-billion waterfront cultural district and shopping destination that is the brainchild of tycoon and art patron Adrien Cheng. Plus, Lanvin opened a pop-up in Mercer in SoHo.

Cheng and Chan are somewhat infuriatingly careful not to reveal Fosun’s exact stake in many of the companies, or indeed their annual turnover. However, Bregenz-based Wolford is quoted in Vienna, with annuals sales of around €145 million euros. While Hamburg-based Tom Tailor is quoted in Frankfurt, with annual group sales of  some €850 million. So, the Fosun Fashion Group annual turnover most likely exceeds one and a quarter billion euros.

In Italy, Caruso has also opened a new showroom near Duomo, and Fosun is keen to develop its own brand, even if the company is still more famous as a manufacturer than marque. “Caruso is a manufacturer. That is its core values, as the brand makes incredible classic suits. But we want to evolve more to a total look that can be worn by gentlemen on all occasions,” explains Cheng.

Before Chan adds: “It’s important to realize that three of our five brands have their own manufacturing: St. John has plants in Mexico; Wolford in Austria and Slovenia; and Caruso produces clothes for top-tier luxury brands, among whom Lanvin. That was the connection.”

Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, several well-funded Japanese groups bought French brands, without leading to any notable successes. Why, one wonders, does Fosun think they can be be different? And, what makes them think they can rival major western players like Kering or LVMH?

Choosing her words carefully, Cheng responds: “Both Kering and LVMH we really respect. We don’t want to compare ourselves to them and their market position. We are so young, just born three years ago. We only opened FFG in 2017.”

“Now we are focussed on operations, though our investment office is also looking for opportunities.  A key way to develop is through organic growth. So to grow these brands we have the core engine of the home market and their heritage. And then we have the second engine, the China engine.  We are in the China market, which is a reaaalllly big market. China is a very good in digital, and in e-commerce. And, we believe we can build them up digitally, like with livestreamed shows,” expounds Chan.

During the recent season, when coronavirus meant no Chinese celebrities and buyers could come from China to the Lanvin show, the house produced a virtual reality version of the catwalk event, and showed it on Iqiyi, the giant Beijing-based online video platform, and on Secoo, the giant Chinese online luxury e-commerce platform. It reached an audience of 1.5 million individuals, with a potential exposure to 126 million viewers. Plus, the Lanvin catwalk moment also played  on TikTok, expanding the reach.

“Chinese people really like fashion and luxury, so they really wanted to see this show. And with livestreaming they could. And, we had 250 articles in Chinese fashion and lifestyle media on this show!  That’s what I mean by the China engine!” she cheered.

Unlike many European executives, who are in the midst of closing stores, pop-ups, restaurants and even factories due to Covid-19, Cheng believes, at least for China, that the worst moment has passed.

“Yes, for sure it has had an impact, but China is pretty much cooling down, with almost 70%, in some cities 100% back to work. We also hope that consumption after a few more months shall catch up. School, however, is all online, my son of 14 is still studying online, with the same teacher and via livestream,” she nods.

However, Fosun is in the process of launching its own e-commerce marketplace in China for its own brands, making sure that Chinese customers, even if blocked at home can still buy.

“Most of our business was in retail historically. But due to the virus the government said ‘stay home,’ and we Chinese follow the rules. The streets were deserted. However, perhaps, that has helped an older generation also embrace the online world, and e commerce,” said Cheng, who admitted she has been living in Europe for the past two months.

“CONVERSATION PIECE”

Crossing lines of dialogue – other voices, different personalities, points of view. The Lanvin Fall/Winter 2020 collection is a collection of discussions between past and present, patrimony and modernity, all using the language of the Maison to communicate to the now.

Conversations are found between manifest individuals. First, foremost, there is the conversation between Lanvin creative director Bruno Sialelli and the founder Jeanne Lanvin, traversing time and connecting the contemporary with the historical. His investigation of her design vocabulary discovers a fresh grammar and syntax. But in turn, that conversation inevitably reflects others – namely Jeanne Lanvin’s visionary collaborations, uniquely based in dialogue with different creative disciplines – she not only designed clothes for women but, in collaboration with a family of creatives, devised childrenswear and menswear, interiors, cosmetics and parfum. All are referenced here, those individual tête-à-têtes feeding a more general discussion, each speaking of Lanvin in a different voice.

Lanvin’s 1949 collaboration with the French poet and author Louise de Vilmorin on the book L’Opéra de l’Odorat – in itself a collaboration, prefaced by Colette and illustrated by Guillaume Gillet with watercolours and expressive calligrams, is a source of graphicism. Words wind their way into illustrative lines of print, expressive watercolours are printed across feathers and silks. The perfume and beauty lines of Lanvin are translated into bijoux de fantaisie and buttons furrowed like the flaçon of Lanvin’s signature 1927 fragrance, Arpège; Lanvin’s cosmetics suggest a whispered color palette of powder blue and blush-pink, bordeaux, rouge feu and rose-midi. Furthermore, their forms are used for accessories – minaudière handbags are formed from overscale lipstick and rouge compacts, like surreal objets d’art. Lanvin’s conversation with designer Armand Albert Rateau resulted in the extraordinary interior of her home on rue Barbet de Jouy – a zoomorphic wonderland of animaux transmogrified into furniture, here translated again into jewellery and accessories. Menswear – originally launched in 1926 – here underscores the women’s silhouettes, each borrowing from the other.

Lanvin lived beyond Jeanne. As a fragrance diffuses a room after the wearer has left, these clothes bear traces, evoke memories and emotions. They are redolent. Garments themselves reference not only Jeanne Lanvin’s signature sinuous lines of the 1920s 1930s, her robes de style and graphic Modernist embroideries, executed like jewels, but also the work of her successors, who converse with her as inspiration. The curvilinear shoulders and structured brevity of tailoring recall mid-century haute couture, balanced on heels formed into a graphic, abstract ‘J’ for Jeanne, a Brancusi incline.

A wider conversation comes from Lanvin’s perception – as an innate, distinctly French brands, the oldest couture house in Paris. References are draw generally from this abstract notion of Frenchness: the bourgeoisie gesture of a matching parure of jewels, the gesture of a gloved wrist matched to handbag matched to shoes. From the art of Henri Toulouse Lautrec and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, executed when Maison Lanvin was founded in 1889, come ruffled rond de jambe skirts, a froufrou femininity. Playfully, a Parisian pâtisseries box can become a handbag. Exploding those periods, the show décor expresses a notion of contradictory domestic grandeur – a maison meets a maison de couture. Created in the Manufacture des Gobelins, using archival tapestries drawn from several centuries to create an interior reminiscent of both then and now, it is another conversation piece.

In all, a manifesto of Lanvin. Past, present, always.

DIALOGUE: LANVIN 130 YEARS

Duration: Saturday, December 7, 2019–Sunday, February 9, 2020
Opening: Friday, December 6, 2019
Venue: Fosun Foundation Shanghai

Shanghai, China: World famous fashion brand Lanvin announces it will join with Shanghai Fosun Foundation on December 7, 2019, to present the exhibition “Dialogue: 130 Years of Lanvin” to Chinese audiences. The exhibition features over seventy antique clothing items, new runway show pieces, and precious works of embroidery, providing a sweeping view of this legendary brand’s profound influence on the fashion world over the past 130 years, and its reinterpretation under Lanvin’s new Creative Director, Bruno Sialelli.

“I wish each and every one of you a fabulous journey of discovery through this exhibition, which I am convinced will move, entertain and fascinate you.”

—Lanvin CEO, Jean Philippe Hecquet

Lanvin was founded in 1889 by Jeanne Lanvin. As Paris’s oldest fashion brand, Lanvin is renowned around the world for its timeless designs, pursuit of perfection in craft, and bold use of cuts and colors. It stands today as a global leader in high end fashion. The exhibition “Dialogue: 130 Years of Lanvin” presents a refined and diverse collection of precious items never before exhibited in China from a diverse range of themes in a vivid retelling of the history of this storied brand that shows the evolution of Lanvin’s fashion innovations.

Through the exhibits “Bow Ties and Brooches”, “Large and Small”, “Lanvin Theater”, “Plants and Animals”, “Evolution of Clothing Models”, “Exotic Travels” and “Waves” on the Fosun Foundation second floor, and “Discerning Paris”, “Video Room”, “Lanvin Light Room”, “Embroidery” and “Museum” on the third floor, the exhibition constructs a pathway through 130 years of history to present the evolution of Lanvin’s fashion across the dimensions of time and space, to pay tribute to the past, and gaze into the future. In the dialogue across time and space between glorious history and modern heritage, between timeless classics and groundbreaking innovations, the viewer and brand join together to explore the deep artistic meaning and penetrating insights into the times that lie behind Lanvin fashion.

 

Dialogue Between Glorious History and Modern Transmission

As it commemorates the 130th anniversary of Lanvin, this exhibition also welcomes new Creative Director Bruno Sialelli. Looking back over this legendary history, Lanvin’s landmark designs have infused the brand with extraordinary DNA, while the touching human stories behind each design have bestowed Lanvin with a unique culture. This spiritual core is found within every aspect of the brand, transcending time and space to provide Lanvin’s designers with an inexhaustible wellspring of creative inspiration. Founder Jeanne Lanvin employed what are now iconic design elements such as bow ties, the mother and daughter brooch, children’s clothing and the childlike mind, medieval style, exotic flavor and the iconic “Lanvin blue” to form a signature style which has now found new life in the hands of Creative Director Bruno Sialelli. It shimmers with the luster of the times, and continues the splendor of the Lanvin brand in the dialogue between history and modern transmission.

Just like the exhibition title, Dialogue brings Jeanne Lanvin’s vision together with the brand’s completely new interpretation in a dialogue of resonance.

—Lanvin Creative Director, Bruno Sialelli

Bows and Logos
Lanvin’s unparalleled and unrequited love for Marguerite provided her with the inspiration and the motivation that she needed to develop the House of Lanvin. In 1924, Lanvin adopted the famous logo, known as the Woman and Child – a tender motif that expresses Lanvin’s multifaceted relationship with Marguerite. Lanvin’s familial and precious ethos is captured in the image of a mother leaning forwards to clasp her daughter’s hands.

Playing with Scale
In 1908, Lanvin developed a children’s line in response to the demand generated by the clothing she made for her daughter, Marguerite Marie-Blanche (b. 1897). The following year she added a Young Ladies and Women’s department where mothers and daughters ordered their Lanvin creations together.

The New Medieval: Lanvin Bleu
The ‘Angel’ (L’ange) dress illustrates Jeanne Lanvin’s interest in the cultural production of Medieval and Renaissance Europe. The vivid ultramarine used to convey the angels’ robes was a costly and luxurious colour in 15th-century Florentine painting. It was translated onto silk by the dye factories established by Lanvin in 1923. The formula for the dye was carefully safeguarded and ‘Lanvin Blue’ continues to be central to the language of the House today.

Flora and Fauna
Between 1921 and 1925, Jeanne Lanvin worked closely with the designer and draughtsman Armand-Albert Rateau. Their numerous collaborations gave Lanvin an “architectural framework for her style – a modernism that embraced ornament”. For the dining room in Lanvin’s Paris residence at 16 rue Barbet-de-Jouy, Rateau designed an elaborate folding screen composed of ten panels. It brings together constellations of plants and flowers, sinuous tress, and animals composed of smooth, curving lines.
The rabbit and fox chase continues from Rateau’s famous screen onto dresses in Bruno Sialelli’s collection for Autumn/Winter 2019.

Comic gallery
Conceived as an immersive performance, and referenced in the second floor gallery, Bruno drew on surrealist references by reproducing the sleep-induced adventures of US cartoonist Winsor McCay’s comic strip, Little Nemo in Slumberland (1905-11), on accessories and clothing. This collection renewed the House’s legacy of daydreams as a perfect device to fetishise French elegance and experiment with craft techniques and imaginative silhouettes.

 

Dialogue Between Timeless Classics and Groundbreaking Innovations

What is changing and what is eternal? Since its inception, Lanvin has aspired to lead world fashion trends, marshaling penetrating insight into the essence of ever-changing fashion, a pioneering modern spirit, outstanding design and bold innovation, Lanvin has constantly brought new developments to timeless classics. Lanvin collaborates with a wide range of creators including visual artists, musicians, designers and writers, and draws inspiration from the cultures of the world. As they create new fashions, they also change the way fashion is presented, modeled and displayed.

“Each installation poses a question about what is changing and what is constant; the exquisite construction and attention to detail that persists at Lanvin is what delegates change to design. ”

-Curator and Exhibition Designer, Judith Clark

Lanvin’s Theatre
The relationship between Lanvin and theatre is one of the least renowned, yet fascinating aspects of the house. Jeanne Lanvin’ s contribution to stage costume was impressive, and spanned more than 35 years. She collaborated on 300-plus theatrical works that are counted in the archive.

Deco Poses
In 1925, Jeanne Lanvin was appointed President of the fashion section at the Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes – a significant event in the history of fashion and design. Lanvin reprised the role of President of the Pavillon de l’Élégance for the Exposition internationale des arts et techniques dans la vie moderne, held in Paris in 1937. Once again, the mannequins featured in the pavilion broke with tradition. The modern mannequin acts, therefore, as a conduit for the powerful role of imagination in our encounters with fashion.

Exotic Travel
Lanvin travelled the world in search of new experiences and sources of inspiration. Her visits to museums, churches, and antique shops led her to collect costumes and ancient, folk, and ethnic textiles that informed her fashion designs.

Wave
The references of the garments adorned in shells are to beautifully painted women’s dresses. The one on display, ‘Coquillage rose’ (‘Pink Shell’), is from 1925, and it shows the translation across time and gender.

 

Dialogue Between Viewer and Brand

The exhibition also draws the viewer on a temporal thread along a 130 year journey of exploration. While revisiting many classic moments, a dialogue between viewer and brand unfolds across space. On the second floor of the Fosun Foundation, highly dramatic installations with clear themes form a dreamlike journey through time and space that inspires the viewer to seek out connections within the exhibition hall, and enter into a third space of intersecting light and shadow. This third space brings together the most treasured objects and documents from the history of Paris fashion. To stand among them is to engage in an intimate dialogue with Lanvin through time and space. Here, the viewer can take an up-close look at Lanvin’s exquisite craftsmanship, and explore the evolution of Lanvin fashion while reflecting on fashion’s constantly-shifting essence.

The essence of the 130-year-old brand Lanvin is about much more than just its classic clothing. It also rests in its passion for affection and family conveyed through its children’s clothing and furniture series. This is a perfect match with the healthy, happy and prosperous life Fosun Group strives to create.

—Fosun Foundation President, Jenny Jinyuan Wang

The Museum
The Museum contains the most precious historic objects from the Lanvin Archive in Paris. They have been collected here for their first-ever display in China.

Graphic Embroidery
Jean Lanvin audaciously combined simple designs with rich embroidery. This aesthetic can be attributed to the couturier’s sense of style; to her ability to produce designs that appear simple but are powerful.

The Video Room
The conflation of dreamlike imagery and high craftsmanship is a distinctive trait of the House of Lanvin.

The Judgement of Paris
This pochoir print, The Judgement of Paris, uses the mythological tale of competing forms of desire represented by the three goddesses, as a humorous take on the competitive nature of society dress. Two of the three garments designed by Lanvin, and featured in George Lepape’s illustration, have been recovered and further restored for this exhibition.

The Lanvin Light Room
The play of contrasts permeates the designs of Lanvin to the extent that it has become a signature of the House.Light and brilliance are frequent sources of inspiration for the House of Lanvin and occupy a central place in its universe.

 

LANVIN Café

Alongside the exhibition “Dialogue: 130 Years of Lanvin,” the LANVIN Café also makes its first appearance in China, recreating the atmosphere of the streetside French café to show Chinese viewers a slice of the romantic French living aesthetic. LANVIN Café is decorated with the trademark wood paneling, cloth canopies, mirrors and neon lighting of French cafés, not only presenting the pure French café culture, but also expressing Lanvin’s signature fashion aesthetic. The site also features a Lanvin-themed desert cart and crepes made by CLOUD Bistro chefs, giving visitors a taste of authentic French flavor.

Lanvin is joining hands with the Fosun Foundation Art Shop, drawing inspiration from Lanvin’s signature gift boxes and traditional Parisian book stalls to create a unique gift shop area presenting 17 souvenirs created expressly for this exhibition. Sit in LANVIN Café to enjoy the delicious food, or peruse the art souvenirs, and set out on a journey of “dialogue” across regions and cultures.

At this time, the CLOUD Bistro, located on the Fosun Foundation’s fourth floor terrace offering 270 degree views of the Bund, will officially open for business, providing Lanvin’s afternoon tea service and cocktails specially devised for the exhibition. Take in the fashionable allure and artistic import of Lanvin with a feast of the senses.

 

Acknowledgments

This exhibition enjoys special support from the French Consulate in Shanghai. Our strategic sponsorship partners are Fudi Elegant Garden and Yuyuan Investment Holdings; exhibition special partner is Serious Skin Care; hotel partner is Hotel Indigo Shanghai on the Bund. FASHION ZOO is our opening party partner; Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque Champagne is opening ceremony partner; and Voss is the official drinking water partner for the exhibition.

St. John Relaunches with Bold New Collection and Social Media Campaign Aimed at Global Audience

The American fashion house, known for its luxury knits, pushes the fashion envelope forward for an expanded customer base with a fresh vision and voice from new creative director Zoe Turner.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Irvine, CA) November 7, 2019 – St. John, the American luxury house founded in 1962 on the premise of simple, elegant knitwear enters an exciting new era with a fashion-forward capsule collection and provocative social media campaign envisioned by recently-appointed creative director Zoe Turner.

Embracing St. John’s future while paying homage to its past, the story unfolds with a redesigned logo – a subtle yet powerful change. Leading this new narrative is a refreshingly modern limited-edition capsule collection created by Turner and her team of artisans and knitwear technicians. The 20 head-to-toe looks push the boundaries of craft and couture, as never-before-seen knitting techniques take both delicate and bold forms.

St. John’s iconic signatures are reimagined with modernized brand codes including knit stitch, metal hardware and a new jacket silhouette. Looks range from a featherweight pleated Grecian-inspired ensemble, to intricately textured, graphic geometric looks. In a creative twist, the hardware, is now incorporated into the clothing – down the front of a bodysuit or in the bodice of a cut-out midi dress. St. John’s signature suit takes on new proportions, oversized and tailored at the same time, while classic cream and metallic tweeds now embody sporty silhouettes. Turner also introduces a new color palette, wovens and leather, along with essential wardrobe pieces that speak to the way today’s women dress.

Consumers will experience the collection via a limited release available online and a social media campaign launched exclusively on Instagram in the U.S. and WeChat in China, all new milestones for St. John. To help develop the concept and statement making social media campaign, St. John and Turner tapped 26-year-old photographer Bibi Cornejo Borthwick.

“It’s about evolving as a brand and making sure we are being as authentic as possible along the way, creating an emotional connection with the consumer,” said Joann Cheng, Fosun Group’s Global Partner and Chairman of Fosun Fashion Group, which acquired a majority interest in St. John in 2017. “St. John holds an important position within Fosun Fashion Group not only because it’s our first U.S. brand, but also one with a unique core of signature innovative knits and an undisputed reputation for quality. We are committed to further develop it into a successful luxury brand rooted in U.S. but with global width. The U.S. and China are two major markets, but we are increasing our efforts in regions such as Europe, where we also see ample opportunity.”

“We’re excited to introduce Zoe and her vision with this limited-edition capsule collection, and to spark the conversation around beautiful fashion through the digitally-led campaign. These new initiatives will speak to a larger audience, including our existing clients, about who we are and what we represent: a blend of modernity and history,” said chief executive officer Eran Cohen.

Turner, who leads all creative at St. John with a holistic approach, starting with its codes and icons and melding them with her fresh approach to product, visuals and store design, noted,
“The capsule represents new ideas, techniques and a fashion forward vision. It is a chance for us to highlight 20 unique looks and ideas. I wanted to speak to the different facets of who we are and how we can express ourselves in the future. It skims the surface of a very deep story.”

The capsule collection will be supported by launch events in New York and Beijing as well as robust social media campaigns featuring 100+ influencers and opinion leaders ranging from celebrities, inclusivity advocates, and fashion tastemakers each bringing the looks to life in their own way. Turner’s first full collection for St. John will be Fall 2020, and a new store concept will debut mid-to-late next year. -ends-

St. John Names Zoe Turner as New Creative Director, Redefining Modern Luxury at Heritage House

The designer joins the iconic American brand from Max Mara Fashion Group and Dior in a new role spanning product, store design and brand communication.

St. John, the American luxury house founded in 1962, has named Zoe Turner as its new creative director, an expanded role arching across all facets of the brand from its collections and retail environments to its multimedia presence. With a singular creative voice, Turner will take the legacy brand to new heights while remaining deeply rooted in its DNA.

A sophisticated and highly technical fashion and knitwear designer with 20 years of experience, Turner has an impressive background that includes almost a decade at Dior under both John Galliano and Raf Simons, during which she honed her skills as a knitwear expert. Turner began her career working alongside celebrated Italian designer Alberta Ferretti, and most recently headed a team while consulting at Max Mara Fashion Group.

“Zoe has a fresh outlook. She is curious, creative and passionate, and this energy will help drive St. John to the next level. She has a deep understanding of the brand’s DNA and how to communicate that to customers through a 360° brand experience. We believe Zoe can introduce St. John to a larger audience through reinterpreting the brand codes and modernizing the collections,” said Joann Cheng, Fosun Group’s global partner, chairman of Fosun Fashion Group, which acquired a majority interest in St. John in 2017.

“Zoe is a quiet and powerful creative soul with an innate sense of how women want to dress. I love her passion, her appreciation for all eras and her eye to the future. She has a vision for the bigger picture, and I look forward to seeing the impact that Zoe will have at St. John,” said Eran Cohen, chief executive officer of St. John.

“St. John has a rich history of innovation and flair. Like kindred spirits, I look forward to creating a new chapter in the story of a great American brand.”

Keeping luxury, comfort, confidence and classicism at the forefront, Turner will lead a team of artisans, craftsman and technical experts to create clothes that spark desire and start a new conversation.

“I’m honored and excited about the challenge ahead, and to lead the creative teams with a new vision for today’s woman.”