Carven: Decision expected 12 October ; a Chinese group in pole position
today Oct 5, 2018
Has Carven found its savior? The French label could be taken over in the next few days by Chinese group Icicle. While Carven was on the verge of liquidation, it finally received eight total or partial takeover offers through the Paris Commercial Court, which will issue its decision on 12 October. But one of the takeover candidates was considered to be in pole position by the audience who gathered on 4 October, FashionNetwork.com has learned: Icicle.
All were in favour of the takeover offer made by the Chinese luxury fashion house founded in 1997, positioned in the niche of very high-end, eco-friendly womenswear and menswear. The proposal submitted by the Asian group is for a total takeover of the label, of the structure of Carven and its workforce, which was not the case for any of the other seven offers on the table. And, importantly, at a much higher price.
The 100-odd Carven employees should, then, if the trade court officialises the takeover on 12 October, be included in the relaunch for the label founded in 1945 in Paris by Marie-Louise Carven.
Icicle has had a French subsidiary since 2013, with 28 employees, who attempted to raise the co-ed ready-to-wear brand's visibility on the French market. It also operates as a design center, at which designers and artisans work on the ideas for the collections, for which they only make use of natural materials.
The other seven bids were from different players in the textile industry, such as Awara; Lee Cooper, which submitted a proposal at the last minute; Cashtex; Philippe Métivier; Market Maker and Red Luxury. They were only partial offers, showing only interest either in the name or a particular business segment.
Hong Kong distributor Bluebell bought Carven in 2016 from Henri Sebaoun, the man who had successfully relaunched the house in 2008, in particular by entrusting design to Guillaume Henry. Currently, or at least until further notice, the creative direction at the label is helmed by Serge Ruffieux. General direction is still in the hands of Sophie de Rougement, the daughter of the owners of the Bluebell group.
The Icicle group has an annual revenue of 300 million euros and employs more than 2,000 employees in China, producing women's, men's, children's and accessories ranges and distributing them via 250 stores. The Paris subsidiary is managed by Tao Xiao Ma.
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