Weekly News Update // Week of March 2, 2020

Here's TRAUB's roundup of recent retail news. Designers Jean Paul Gaultier and Sacai's Chitose Abe to collaborate on the next couture collection, DVF and Mastercard team up to improve in-store tech, Aman hotels to launch affordable new Janu hotel brand in 2022, and more. 


  • J. Crew delays proposed Madewell IPO Retail Dive
  • Streamer Quibi raises $750M ahead of launch, bringing total raised to $1.75B WSJ
  • WHP Global gets another $150M infusion from Oaktree WWD
  • Brooklinen raises $50M to open more stores and expand internationally TechCrunch
  • Co-living european startup Colonies raises $34M Techcrunch




Fashion’s New Race: Design Collaborators Jean Paul Gaultier's Tapping of Sacai's Chitose Abe 

Jean Paul Gaultier's tapping of Sacai's Chitose Abe to do the next couture collection is the latest example of a growing trend for designer tie-ups. The battle for design talent now extends to temp workers — up to and including fashion’s uppermost echelons. On Wednesday, Jean Paul Gaultier revealed that Sacai’s Chitose Abe would design his next couture collection, the first of a revolving cast of creatives he will invite to pick up his couture scissors each season. It should be an enticing opportunity for younger designers to interpret Gaultier’s vast and eclectic oeuvre, achieved over a career spanning 50 years, and to take advantage of his atelier’s formidable know-how with tailoring and elaborately embellished flou. WWD


DVF, Mastercard Team Up for In-Store Tech

Mastercard and Diane Von Furstenberg earlier this week partnered to introduce the DVF InCharge platform and the Mastercard Her Ideas Start Something Priceless initiative in order to utilize technology to give "intelligent insights to store associates" and shoppers more robust product information and brand engagement. With the integration of Mastercard tech, DVF shoppers can access QR codes that unlock the story behind garments, as well as styling recommendations and product information. Store associates can use the technology to share product information with customers and give recommendations depending on the time of day, day of the week, demand for products and other factors, according to a company press release.  Retail Dive


Kiehl’s and Lancôme Trial Virtual Customer Service

As e-commerce purchases continue to overtake in-store purchases, the Australian divisions of Lancôme and Kiehl’s are trying to mimic the benefits of physical retail in their e-commerce strategies. While online purchases of health and beauty products boomed in Australia (growing faster than any other category, at 29% year over year as of 2018), L’Oréal-owned brands experienced challenges. The brands’ individual websites lacked standard back-end infrastructure and services — for example, it had no live chat function, a slow shipping policy and featured an outdated appearance. That hindered the customer service experience, said Matthijs van der Putten, L’Oréal Australia CMO. In updating customer experience, at the same time as the other outdated features, L’Oréal opted to first focus on creating a back-end platform for customer service representatives to talk to consumers via live chat. Glossy



Ultra-Luxury Aman Hotels To Launch Affordable New Janu Hotel Brand In 2022

Aman is known for its ultra-exclusive luxury resorts in exotic locales like Bhutan, Laos and Sri Lanka, but the company has just announced plans to launch a new, more affordable sister brand called Janu in 2022.The name Janu means “soul” in Sanskrit (Aman means “peace”) and the ethos behind it will be to rekindle guests’ interaction with others and the world around them through an energetic vibe that promotes purpose and inner connectedness. According the Aman Chairman and CEO Vladislav Doronin, “The overlap between Aman and its sibling is mutually beneficial….What with today’s modern, fast-paced society, which has seen human connection and communication redefined by the digital world, we wanted to create a new hotel brand with a soul and with the aim of kick-starting human interaction again.To that end, Janu properties will have dynamic, multi-purpose social spaces that include a mix of lounge areas, bars and dining outlets. The culinary program will be driven by “a culture of innovation” with trend-driven concepts such as fermentation and low-temperature cooking taking center stage, as well as open kitchens and interactive counter dining areas all meant to “energize the senses.”  Forbes


Rockets of Awesome Slashes Staff, Closes Store

Rockets of Awesome, a children’s apparel startup, is laying off about half of its staff in a retrenchment focused on shifting away from high-paced growth and toward profitability. “This is a difficult moment, but it’s necessary for the long-term health of the company,” founder and Chief Executive Rachel Blumenthal said in an interview. The New York City-based company, launched in 2016, has become known for trendy children’s clothes and a subscription service that allows parents to sign up to receive a personalized box of items four times a year. Stitch Fix Inc., SFIX -1.52% a personal shopping service and clothing retailer, expanded into children’s clothing in 2018. WSJ


Lululemon Athletica Achieves 100 Percent Gender Pay Equity

Lululemon Athletica hits its latest target: equal pay for the ladies.Just in time for International Women’s Day on March 8, the Canadian ath-leisure brand said it reached 100 percent gender pay equity, or equal pay for equal work, throughout the company. “We’re fortunate to have a number of powerful female leaders throughout the company, which helped us approach this work with the utmost intention,” Lululemon said in a statement. WWD



Nike Unveils Sustainable Uniforms For Team USA For The 2020 Olympics

This year, for the 2020 games, Nike is delivering all that in their Olympic uniforms and gear. Not only do they perform, but they also help the planet. Ahead of the Olympic games in Tokyo this summer, Nike revealed a new collection that spotlights sustainable materials. The innovative fabrics include polyester made from recycled plastic bottles and nylon, as well as rubber and yarn waste from Nike factories. Forbes



  • J. Crew delays proposed Madewell IPO Retail Dive
  • Hudson’s Bay Co.’s CEO Helena Foulkes leaving the company WWD
  • Nordstrom names Erik Nordstrom CEO WWD
  • Yoox Net-aPorter Group CEO, Federico Marchetti, steps down BoF
  • Chanel hires Art Executive to spearhead its cultural influence WWD
  • Printemps CEO, Paolo de Cesare, departs BoF
  • Old Navy Boss, Sonia Syngal, named CEO of Gap Inc.  BoF
  • Walmart names new COO of e-commerce, Jamie Iannone Retail Dive



  • How a Hero Product is Born BoF
  • Hotels aim to help guests travel light NYT
  • Will the millennial aesthetic ever end? The Cut