Cashing in on Karl: Apax’s fashion play

Apax Partners has invested in a new clothing label backed by fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld (pictured). The investment is reportedly ‘substantial’.

Former Chanel designer Karl Largerfeld has secured a “substantial” investment from private equity firm Apax Partners, according to reports. Apax is acquiring a majority stake in Karl Lagerfeld BV, a fashion venture that will include the new brand – imaginatively entitled ‘Karl’ – among others.

Apax could not be reached for comment.

The new venture plans to tap into the booming internet retail sector and will reportedly begin selling the “rock chic” Karl brand online from January next year. Its clothes will be sold at price tags of between €60 and €300, according to reports. Lagerfeld also plans to launch a more upmarket label in 2012 called Karl Lagerfeld Paris, offering clothes at between €300 and €2000, according to the release.

Pier Paolo Righi, chief executive of Karl Lagerfeld BV, which has revenues of €100 million, told Reuters this week that the business hoped to multiply its sales by four or five times within five years. He also noted that the more accessible brand, Karl, is expected to be the main driver of growth for the company.

Apax is no stranger to the clothing retail sector. Righi was formerly at Tommy Hilfiger, which Apax sold to clothing retailer Phillips-Van Heusen for €2.2 billion in March last year. At the time PEI reported that Apax made a 4.5x return on the investment.