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Kering and Stella McCartney confirm parting of ways as designer takes full control of brand

Lauretta Roberts
28 March 2018

Luxury conglomerate Kering and Stella McCartney have confirmed they are parting ways as the British designer exercises an option to take full control of her sustainable luxury brand.

The decision, which had been the subject of much industry speculation of late, ends a 17-year partnership which began when the then Gucci Group (which was a subsidiary of what is now known as Kering) backed McCartney to launch her own label, following a stint as creative director at Richemont-owned Chloé.

McCartney said in a joint statement released by her brand and Kering this evening that it was the right time to take full control of the brand which bore her name. "This opportunity represents a crucial patrimonial decision for me. I am extremely grateful to [Kering chairman and CEO] Francois-Henri Pinault and his family and everyone at the Kering group for everything we have built together in the last 17 years. I look forward to the next chapter of my life and what this brand and our team can achieve in the future,” she said.

Pinault added: “It is the right time for Stella to move to the next stage. Kering is a luxury group that empowers creative minds and helps disruptive ideas become reality. I am extremely proud of what Kering and Stella McCartney have accomplished together since 2001."

At the time Kering's backing of McCartney was ground-breaking as the designer refused to used leather and fur in her collections, which had been par for the course for luxury labels. However her foresight has proved correct as a raft of luxury brands have recently sworn off fur including Gucci, Michael Kors, Furla, Versace and DKNY, along with luxury online group Yoox Net-A-Porter.

Luxury conglomerate Kering recently reported record results (with revenues jumping 25% to €15.5bn in 2017) driven by its marquee labels Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. It also owns, among others, Bottega Veneta and Balenciaga, which has become the luxury label of the moment following the appointment of Vetements' Demna Gvasalia as creative director. The business has, however, been streamlining its operations and is spinning of sports brand Puma.

It is understood that Stella McCartney's father Paul McCartney has supported her in buying back the 50% of shares owned by Kering to allow her to take full control of her business, according to a clause that needed to be exercised by 31 March 2018.

Since establishing her label McCartney has branched into kidswear, sportswear (via a partnership with Adidas), menswear and fragrance and has remained steadfast in her commitment to sustainability and her refusal to design with fur and leather. In December she received a special recognition award at The Fashion Awards for the positive change she has brought to the fashion industry.

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