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Alaia Buys Back Prada’s Stake in his House

Godfrey Deeny
July 28th, 2007 @ 00:25 AM - Paris

In the latest rollback of Prada Group’s once grand plans to be an international fashion conglomerate, the Italian luxury company has announced plans for Azzedine Alaia to buy back their stake in his Paris house.

Alaia, who originally entered into partnership with Prada back in 2000 will retake 100% control of his house and brand name.

However, Prada Group “will continue to develop and produce the footwear and leather goods collections for the Maison Azzedine Alaia,” Prada said in a joint statement with Alaia.

Terms of the deal were not revealed. During its Prada period, Alaia had notched up impressive sale growth. In 2006, the Azzedine Alaia brand scored a 30% sales increase to 13.2 million Euros, or $17.8 million at then exchange rates. Alaia was a relatively small investment for Prada, seeing as the group had 2006 sales of 1.425 billion Euros, or $1.924 billion

Prada Group CEO Patrizio Bertelli bought into Alaia during the final stage of Prada’s acquisition binge that began in the late Nineties, which saw it buy control of Jil Sander, Helmut Lang, Church's and Car Shoe.

"The collaboration with Azzedine Alaia has produced significant results for both the brand and the Company. We’ve had an intense and important relationship throughout these years that brought
mutual enrichment and I personally and deeply thank Azzedine for this. Today Azzedine Alaia regains his independence, while maintaining a collaboration with our Group,” Bertelli said in the release.

“For Prada, this agreement is in line with the strategy to expand the Group and grow profitability by focusing on the development of the core brands in the world's key markets," Bertelli added.

Added Alaia in the same release: “I thank the PRADA Group for its valuable and total support
to the Alaia brand during the last years. I thank particularly and personally Patrizio Bertelli for the attention and the sensitivity that he had and continues to have in support of my work... I am happy
for our continued collaboration which is coherent with the significant future developments that I want to give to the Alaia brand.”

In March 2006, Prada sold the troubled Helmut Lang fashion house to Link Theory Holdings of Japan. That deal brought to an end a year-long search to find a buyer for the house of Lang, that began almost immediately after the designer walked out the business in January 2005.

The sale of Lang came less than one month after Prada unloaded Jil sander to London-based equity fund Change Capital Partners for an estimated 100 million Euros.

The latest divestiture, brings to an end Bertelli’s dreams of building a major luxury group. Bertelli ended up in continuous disputes with Lang and Sander, both of whom eventually walked out of the houses they had founded. His parting from Alaia was, on the contrary, amicable, and their continued partnership seems one likely to develop a significant business.

In the past year, while still backed by Prada, Alaia had opened a futurist marble shoe boutique designed by Marc Newson in his Marais complex. A go-to destination, for the world’s least derivative designer.

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