American Apparel unexpectedly swung to profitability during the last quarter of 2012. That makes the three months ended December 31 the first quarter in which the persistently troubled retailer actually turned a profit since the first quarter of 2010, after a dicey 2009 that saw mixed quarterly profits and losses. After eking out a $1.1 million full-year profit in 2009, an overextended American Apparel experienced a credit crunch and lost $86.3 million in 2010 — a loss that was roughly twice the value of the company's total cumulative profits up until that point. It lost another $39.3 million in 2011.
For the full year 2012, the $4.9 million profit from the last quarter was not enough to avert another loss. Overall, the company still lost $37.3 million in 2012. But same-store sales have been slowly turning around, ending a long decline that began in February, 2009, and C.E.O./R. Crumb character Dov Charney is sounding confident. Shares in the company, which previously languished below the $1 mark, shot up 19 cents, to $1.48. [WWD]
- Forbes' annual billionaires list includes over 20 names familiar to those who follow fashion and retail. Amancio Ortega of Zara is the world's third-richest man, with an estimated fortune of $57 billion. Also in the top ten are Liliane Bettencourt, the elderly L'Oréal heiress and the world's richest woman, with $30 billion, and Bernard Arnault of Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, with $29 billion. Other fashion people rolling in it: the founders of H&M, the Gap, Lululemon, and Nike, Miuccia Prada, Giorgio Armani, Domenico Dolce, Stefano Gabbana, the Benetton family, the Wertheimer family, and the Chang family, which owns Forever 21. Tory Burch and Spanx founder Sara Blakely are the world's richest female self-made billionaires, with $1 billion each. [Fashionista]
- The Macy's/Martha Stewart/J.C. Penney trial is behind schedule and the judge is not happy about it. Originally scheduled to end this Friday, it now appears that the trial will merely pause, to start up again after a recess on April 8. That means the judge's preliminary injunction against J.C. Penney selling any of the Martha Stewart-branded homewares in question pending Macy's challenge to the legality of the Penneys/Stewart agreement has to be either extended or allowed to expire on April 1. [WWD]
- Former British Vogue stylist Kate Phelan, who recently became the creative director of Topshop, will be returning to the magazine in a part-time capacity — while continuing to work for the high street giant. Even in fashion, an industry where the divide between editorial and advertising work is notoriously porous, that's unusual. [Telegraph]
- Heidi Klum will now be a judge on America's Got Talent, obviously. [Vogue UK]
- The lawsuit over the slap at the Zac Posen show two seasons ago has been settled. Three editors from the media company that publishes Jalouse and L'Officiel got into a fight with a publicist for Posen. One slapped the publicist. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but apparently included an apology, which the publicist accepted. [WWD]
- In 2011, Carine Roitfeld said she would never again use a cigarette in any fashion shoot:
"If your girl is smoking a cigarette, [your readers] can say, Oh, my God, it's smart to smoke a cigarette, it's good for the look, so I'm going to have one, too. And it's totally stupid. It's an easy solution to make a picture more interesting, but it's not the only solution. And now it's like, forgive me for all these cigarettes I've put in all these issues."
Well, she relapsed. The new issue of CR Fashion Book includes an editorial with three cigarettes. [Fashionista]
- Nepali model Varsha Thapa, who has walked for Prabal Gurung and Vivienne Westwood, says that she feels some pressure to represent her country well as the first model from Nepal to sign with a major international agency. She's in Paris right now for the shows, and describes a typical day:
"A few days ago, after a casting, I got sent directly to a fitting because the designers liked me a lot. I was there waiting for four hours, so I had to miss two really good castings. Then, after the fitting, I was canceled from the show. That was a really big disappointment, but it's all right. It happens every season to every girl."
- Meanwhile, as fashion month finally comes to an end, Cara Delevingne flashed her psoriasis to the press. The condition is triggered by stress. [The Cut]
- Natalia Vodianova ran a half-marathon for charity in Paris the same day she walked in the Givenchy show, because she is perfect in every way. [Fashionista]
- Gucci is touting a new line of handbags made from Brazilian leather that has been certified by the Rainforest Alliance and the National Wildlife Federation to come from cattle ranches that are not destroying the Amazon. Two-thirds of deforestation is caused by cattle ranching. Livia Firth's organization, Green Carpet Challenge, also certified the bags, which are sold with a "passport" that documents the origins of the bag and its materials. [WWD]
- There is a rumor that PPR, the parent company of Gucci and the world's second-largest luxury conglomerate after LVMH, may change its name to Kering. The group has changed names several times before. Until 2005, it was known as Pinault-Printemps-Redoute (François-Henri Pinault is the head, Printemps was the company's flagship Paris department store until it was sold in 2006, and La Redoute its biggest catalog brand), when it became just PPR. The rebranding may happen as soon as later this month, according to Bloomberg. The name Kering "is supposed to evoke the idea of caring and signal a new chapter in the company's development," according to a nameless source. The company wouldn't comment on the rumor. [Bloomberg]
- Barneys New York seems to be phasing out its Co-op stores, which typically sell a less expensive, more eclectic mix of brands than the traditional Barneys. The Barneys Co-ops in The Grove mall in Los Angeles and the Upper West Side of Manhattan are being renovated and rebranded as Barneys New York tout court. Three Co-ops were closed last year, and one is slated for closure this summer, leaving ten still extant. It is not known what will happen to the Barneys Co-op private-label brand. [WWD]