Women's Wear Daily

Criticized for Charms That Evoke Blackface, Prada Says It ‘Abhors Racist Imagery’

Facing online accusations that animal-like figurines and charms in its stores and windows evoke blackface, Prada Group issued a statement saying it “abhors racist imagery” and vowed to withdraw them from “display and circulation.” In a Facebook post, Chinyere Ezie, a civil rights lawyer, said the sight of the figurines in the Italian brand’s store in New York’s SoHo district had her “shaking with anger,” describing “racist and denigrating #blackface imagery” and “Sambo like imagery.” Ezie noted she had just returned from a visit to the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, taking in an exhibit on blackface. “History cannot continue to repeat itself. Black America deserves better. And we demand better,” she wrote in her post, which got picked up by other blogs. “Shame on you Prada.” In a statement to WWD, Prada said the figures are “fantasy charms composed of elements of the Prada oeuvre” and known as Pradamalia. “They are imaginary creatures not intended to have any reference to the real world and certainly not blackface. Prada Group never had the intention of offending anyone and we abhor all forms of racism and racist imagery. In this interest we will withdraw the characters in question from display and circulation,” it

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Seeking the Mall’s New Formula

The future of the shopping mall could be digital. Not e-commerce per se, but digital-first brands that are now moving into brick-and-mortar with technology-enhanced formats that are proving popular with consumers. Companies such as Showfields, which plans to open 500 stores around the world in the next five years, and marketplace Neighborhood Goods, which is showcasing brands such as Stadium Goods, Draper James, Serena, Hims and Allswell, are gunning for traditional players’ market share with disruptive new concepts. Meanwhile, leasing and managing agent JLL, which also has a financial stake in shopping centers, has taken matters into its own hands and developed its own retail brand, Rose and Loon, which it plans to scale across the U.S., while Appear Here, which listed 2 million square feet of temporary space in less than a year, has partnered with other service providers to give up-and-coming brands an incentive to book space. All of these formats are aimed at turning the once shopping-focused mall into a destination that is as much about entertainment as buying fashion. Elevated food halls and chef-driven restaurant collections are overtaking the old “food court” from national chains and replacing Chinese fast food with, say, Nobu’s black cod miso at Macerich’s Fashion

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Avon Appoints Walgreens Exec Chief Financial Officer

Gustavo Arnal has been appointed chief financial officer of Avon Products Inc. Arnal joined the business from Walgreens Boots Alliance, where he was senior vice president and chief financial officer of international divisions and global functions. Before Walgreens, Arnal was at Procter & Gamble for 20 years, overseeing operations in more than 50 different countries. There, as vice president, cfo of India, Middle East and Africa, he helped turn around the company’s India business. He was also vice president and cfo of global fabric and home care, and led a behind-the-scenes supply chain transformation for that business — P&G’s largest. He also worked in beauty, overseeing SK-II, Olay, Secret and Max Factor, for a time, and worked in P&G’s financial planning department during the Gillette merger. He will report to Jan Zijderveld, Avon’s chief executive officer. Avon’s current cfo, Jamie Wilson, has stepped down. In a statement, Zijderveld said Arnal has “significant and relevant international experience” in key markets. “We expect to benefit from Gustavo’s operational experience in leading change in large regions and categories, while developing and driving robust financial performance.” Arnal’s appointment is the latest of many at Avon, which is bulking up internally as Zijderveld, who joined the business in February, works

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