A new investment vehicle designed with the aim of creating a European luxury pole was unveiled on Tuesday – and it’s poised to revitalize the long-established Vionnet brand.
Chimera Abu Dhabi and Haeres Capital have signed a joint venture to create ChimHaeres Investment Holding, starting with a bang. ChimHaeres has not only acquired all of Vionnet’s capital, but also a majority stake in story car designer Zagato, founded in 1919, and a majority stake in Fogal, the Swiss hosiery brand founded by Léon Fogal in 1921.
In addition, Haeres is bringing its majority stake in the famous hat manufacturer Borsalino, founded in 1857 in Alessandria, Italy, to the new vehicle.
ChimHaeres is led by Chief Executive Officer Philippe Camperio, founder of Haeres Capital.
“ChimHaeres embodies the shared vision of Chimera and Haeres to build and manage a multi-brand luxury and lifestyle platform,” said Camperio. “The partnership will invest in unique European assets while applying a proactive management and ownership approach by dedicated industry professionals to execute each portfolio company’s long-term strategies.”
Camperio is supported by a team of industry veterans including Antonella di Pietro, Alberto Nathanson, Giacomo Santucci and Jérôme Macario, as well as an experienced team of operational, financial and legal professionals.
Investments will initially focus on Italy, France, Switzerland and the UK, mainly high-end and emerging brands aiming to accelerate their growth with a focus on international expansion, digital transformation and sustainability.
“The global luxury market has shown remarkable growth and resilience in recent years, despite the pandemic and various macroeconomic and geopolitical challenges,” said Mirian Khalaf, Head of Chimera Abu Dhabi. “We are confident that our partnership with Haeres will allow us to capitalize on the industry’s attractive long-term fundamentals and establish ourselves as a leading investor in the European lifestyle space. We look forward to working with Philippe and his team to position compelling ‘legacy’ and ‘next-gen’ brands with favorable growth profiles to serve a younger and increasingly global audience.”
Giovanni Maria Rossi was appointed chairman of ChimHaeres and he assured that the holding company is “ideally positioned to become a major player in the luxury industry in Europe”.
Founded in 1912 by Madeleine Vionnet, the French haute couture label has suffered a number of financial setbacks in recent years. In 2018, the brand and its operating company NVO Srl went through a voluntary liquidation.
Goga AshkenaziPresident and Creative Director of Vionnet, took control of Vionnet in 2012 when the Kazakh entrepreneur acquired the fashion house from co-owners Matteo Marzotto and former Marni Chief Executive Officer Gianni Castiglioni. The duo first invested in Vionnet in 2009 with the intention of breathing new life into the French label.
Ashkenazi took over the role of creative director in the fall of 2012, following the departure of sisters Barbara and Lucia Croce at the end of August of the same year, and hosted several fashion shows in Milan. Before the Croce sisters, Vionnet was designed by Rodolfo Paglialungatapped by Marzotto and Castiglioni.
As reported, earlier this month the Borsalino Foundation and the City of Alessandria inaugurated a new museum that will celebrate the legacy of the historic hatter.
Haeres Capital is a privately held company founded in 2011 that has fully controlled Borsalino since 2018 and won the auction held by Borsalino administrators that year. Since then, it has expanded the brand’s markets and distribution, established new collaborations and added other accessories such as leather goods, ties and scarves. In 2021, it partnered with Ami Paris for a co-branded collection and piloted a pop-up strategy.
Zagato was founded in Milan in 1919 by Ugo Zagato, whose experience in the aerospace sector prior to founding the Zagato Atelier contributed to the designs of some of the world’s finest Gran Turismo vehicles, thanks to their sleek and aerodynamic configurations. Zagato has created collectible models for brands such as Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and Porsche.