Over the weekend, rumors emerged that private-equity firm Permira was looking to sell its stakes in Valentino and Proenza Schouler. Valentino hasn’t been a huge hit with critics since designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli took over. Cathy Horyn took pains to remind us in today’s Times that paparazzi in Italy don’t even know who they are. But Permira president Paolo Colonna tells today’s WWD that the firm has no interest in selling Valentino. Despite the designers’ “40-watt personalities,” as Horyn describes them, the label currently has “zero debt,” according to Colonna, and would probably be more valuable in a few years.
“Valentino has had its ups and downs, but we’ve turned a corner now,” Colonna told WWD, pointing to “great results” achieved with designs by Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli for the brand, with double-digit growth.
However, a source previously noted in WWD that it wouldn’t make sense to sell off Valentino in this economic climate. The source added that it would make sense, however, to sell Proenza while it’s still cool.
Colonna said nothing about a possible Proenza sale, which suggests it’s a distinct possibility. Rumor has it that the company isn’t looking to profit from the sale, but is looking to work out a deal with designers Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough, who own a 55 percent stake in their label. One can’t help but wonder if ill feelings toward the label’s fall 2010 pants figure into any of this at all.