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Kazakhstan Investor Acquires Control of Vionnet
May 23rd, 2012 @ 10:37 AM - Paris
In a new extension of luxury control to an emerging nation, Goga Ashkenazi, a business woman from Kazakhstan, has bought control of famed French couture house Vionnet.
Go To Enterprise Sarl, an investment vehicle headed by Goga Ashkenazi, made the acquisition to acquire “the majority of shares in Vionnet,” according to a release on Tuesday, May 22, which did not however reveal terms of the deal.
Ashkenazi bought Vionnet from a triumvirate made up of three partners - Matteo Marzotto, Vionnet's current chairman; Gianni Castiglioni, the CEO of Marni, and Marco Casoni, who together acquired the historic house back in 2009.
“The shareholders, promoters and managers who revived the historic brand in 2009, remain investors and executives of the company,” read the release, underlining that all three Italians would retain executive positions inside Vionnet.
Ashkenazi is best known in the United Kingdom as a socialite, renowned for her relationship with Timur Kulibayev, the leading oil baron of Kazakhstan’s massive oil reserves, with whom Ashkenazi has a son.
“I am delighted to join the Vionnet family, which is, without a doubt, already a success story. I admire all that the brand represents, including the team behind what has been created so far based on the principles and vision of Madeleine Vionnet! I am especially excited to be joining the company in this historical year for the brand, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and am looking forward to contributing to the further expansion of this beautiful brand,” said Ashkenazi in the release.
Capital supplied by the new owner will fund a runway show in Paris in October, celebrating the brand’s centenary with its first show since since 1939, when founder Madeleine Vionnet shuttered her house as World War II began. Vionnet will also open its first directly owned boutique in Milan in December, adding to a franchise store, debuted in Kuwait City in February 2011.
After its relaunch, Vionnet was initially designed by Rodolfo Paglialunga, though he was replaced last October by twin sisters Barbara and Lucia Croce, who garnered more positive reviews for their classy showroom presentations. Sales last year are understood to have been some 7 million euros, or $8.8 million at current exchange rates.
Ashkenazi had been openly looking for investment opportunities in high-end fashion brands for some time, and Vionnet marks her entry into the prestige products sector.
“The fascinating history of the House, of Madeleine Vionnet herself as well as the substantial work done in recent years, together with the enthusiasm, entrepreneurial and international vision of Ms. Goga Ashkenazi, play a key role in this operation and represent a tremendous opportunity for the house for further development and creation of future value,” added Marzotto in the statement announcing the takeover.