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Richemont Adds Management Muscle for AZ Factory – WWD

Compagnie Financière Richemont has recruited a seasoned executive for its fledgling AZ Factory business.

WWD has learned that Mauro Grimaldi, most recently chief executive officer of Printemps International, has been named strategic adviser to Philippe Fortunato, CEO of Fashion & Accessories Maisons at Richemont.

It is understood that Grimaldi will focus primarily on the operational management of AZ Factory to accompany its future development.

Grimaldi’s appointment comes a few days after Laurent Malecaze, the inaugural CEO at AZ Factory, a joint venture between Richemeont and the designer Alber Elbaz, was named the new CEO at Richemont’s Dunhill.

A start-/up, AZ Factory unveiled its first fashions, centered around smart fabrics, one year ago, alongside a new business model hinged on projects rather than collections, and with storytelling, problem-solving and entertainment embedded in design, distribution and communications.

Following Elbaz’s death from COVID-19 last April, the brand focused mainly on a massive tribute show featuring guest designers that was unveiled last October during Paris Fashion Week.

That “Love Brings Love” runway experience is being transformed into an exhibition running from March 5 to July 10 at the Palais Galliera fashion museum in Paris, but the brand has yet to articulate its go-forward strategy without its charismatic founder.

AZ Factory has remained active, dressing celebrities including Lily Collins, Simone Ashley and Alicia Keys in recent weeks. It has also been promoting its Pointy Sneaks — sneakers with sharp, pump-like toes — and squishy Hugging bags on its Instagram feed.

A well-rounded luxury executive, Grimaldi joined Printemps in February 2020 to spearhead its international expansion.

Prior to joining Printemps, Grimaldi was CEO of Pucci, owned by luxury group LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, from September 2015 to January 2019. Before that, he was vice president of Elie Saab in charge of sales, marketing, licenses and communication, and West/Central Europe director at Salvatore Ferragamo.

A graduate of Milan’s Bocconi University, his work experience also includes stints as retail and wholesale director — EMEA at Valentino, retail manager France at Tod’s, and wholesale and retail development manager at Dolce & Gabbana.

Richemont’s stable of fashion and accessories firms also includes Alaïa, Chloé, Delvaux, Montblanc, Peter Millar, Purdey and Serapian.


Alber Elbaz Pivots to Tech, Fashion Entertainment

Philippe Fortunato to Join Richemont’s Senior Executive Committee

All the Looks from AZ Factory Tribute Show to Alber Elbaz

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