Stella McCartney's eponymous label is about to become just a little more eponymous, at least on the business side. French luxury group Kering, which has operated the Stella McCartney brand for the last 17 years, is selling its 50 percent share of the label back to its namesake designer, reports Business of Fashion.
Though a spokesperson for Stella McCartney did not immediately respond to our request for comment, BoF claims that the announcement was originally slated for early January and is now "imminent," with the Stella McCartney HR team "preparing a booklet outlining the details of the separation to answer outstanding questions and ease employee concerns." Meanwhile, both parties said in a joint statement, issued to BoF, that nothing has been confirmed. The statement reads, in part: "As already stated, as it is customary between stakeholders, there are regular discussions about the future of the partnership. Any significant change to the current relationship would be made public at the appropriate time. Any piece of information circulating to this respect can only be considered as speculation."
While it remains unclear at this time which party initiated the separation, a source close to the matter told BoF that McCartney's father and legendary musician Sir Paul McCartney "has had a role in financing the buy-back," though a spokesperson for the label stated that McCartney's father "has never been involved with the business."
Stella McCartney will also reportedly be enacting a non-compete with Kering's brands — including Gucci, Saint Laurent and Balenciaga — during the transition from the luxury group, which BoF reports could last as long as two years. For that, Stella McCartney is working with London-based retail consultancy Javelin, which has also worked with the likes of Chanel and Net-a-Porter, to help restructure the business.
Rumors of the split first began circulating last month, coinciding with reports that conglomerate was trimming down its portfolio — including offloading Puma — to better focus on its megahit brands. But the last few years have been big for McCartney, with her label debuting menswear, launching a rare parternship with The RealReal and even outfitting the future Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle.
We'll continue to update this post as we learn more.