Sep 30, 2009
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Emirati sheikh emerges as top Lacroix suitor

Sep 30, 2009

PARIS, Sept 30, 2009 (AFP) - The ruling family of the Arab Emirate of Ajman is favourite to take over Christian Lacroix after Italian retailer Borletti withdrew its offer, the fashion house's administrator said on Wednesday 30 September.

Christian Lacroix
Photo : AFP

Sheikh Hassan Ben Ali al-Naimi, a nephew and business associate of the Emir of the smallest of the seven emirates, was due to put in an offer which is "entirely satisfactory" later Wednesday 30 September, Regis Valliot told AFP.

The offer for the loss-making fashion house will be "formalised" within 48 hours and will involve keeping on both the ready-to-wear and haute couture businesses and retaining the 104 remaining staff, he said.

"It is the fantastic solution we dared not hope for," said Vaillot, who was appointed when the house was put under administration in June after filing for bankruptcy protection.

Acquired from the world's leading luxury giant LVMH in 2005 by US duty free giant Falic, the firm said it had been forced to declare insolvency due to the sharp downturn of the luxury market.

Valliot also said on Wednesday 30 September that Bernard Krief Consulting, which has also made an offer for the fashion house, "is still there for the ready-to-wear business," but did not elaborate.

But the Borletti Group, which bought up French fashion retailers Printemps in 2006 on top of existing operations in Italy and Germany, "is withdrawing," he said, adding that this was not connected to the sheikh's bid.

Christian Lacroix, whose show was always one of the hottest tickets in Paris fashion week, will be conspicuous by his absence from the round of ready-to-wear collections for next summer starting Wednesday 30 September.

The couture house has failed to stage a catwalk presentation in Paris only twice since it was founded in 1987.

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