Fashion & Luxury Forum
Ben Fischman currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of M.Gemi, a direct-to-consumer luxury footwear brand that releases new, handcrafted shoes every week, made in Italy. M.Gemi was established in March 2015 as the first portfolio business within LAUNCH -- a venture-backed organization dedicated to building companies that change the way people shop, think, and live -- of which Fischman is Founder & CEO.
Previously, Fischman was the founder and CEO of Rue La La, one of the earliest players in the digital private sale space, and SmartBargains.com, the off-price e-commerce marketplace. He led both properties to acquisition in 2009 by GSI Commerce, the omnichannel commerce and interactive marketing services provider.
A longtime entrepreneur, Fischman founded LIDS Corporation, the exclusive retailer of sports caps, in 1993, as a junior at Boston University. He eventually sold the company in 2001. Fischman was also the first entrepreneur-in-residence at General Catalyst Partners, a premier venture capital firm that invests in innovative, technology-based companies.
Jeff Kantor was named chief merchandising officer of Macy's in September 2017, with oversight of merchandising, private brands and planning. Prior to becoming chief merchandising officer, Kantor was chief stores and human resources officer.
Kantor has nearly four decades of experience with Macy’s, Inc. and its predecessor companies. He was named chief stores officer of Macy’s, Inc. in February 2015, with responsibility for overseeing all aspects of store strategy, management and operations. He assumed additional responsibility for Human Resources in February 2017. Previously, Kantor was named chairman of macys.com and served as macys.com’s president for merchandising. Prior to that, Kantor had been Macy’s president, merchandising for home. Kantor was previously president and chief executive officer of the Hecht’s/Strawbridge’s division of the May Department Stores Company, which was acquired by Macy’s, Inc. in 2005. Kantor started his career as an assistant buyer at the Boston-based Filene’s/Kaufmann’s division of May Company in 1981.
Intricate details have always been a part of Kobi Halperin’s life, dreams and inspirations.
Born in Israel in the 1970’s and raised in a home with deep Eastern European roots, Kobi grew up surrounded by hand carved ornamented furniture, embellished tapestries and beautifully framed paintings detailed with brushed metals. These intricacies helped shape Kobi’s thirst for aesthetics and perfectionism in the smallest of details and would continue to be a main source of inspiration throughout his career and in current collections.
Kobi studied and received his B.F.A from Shenkar College of Engineering and Design. Upon graduating from Shenkar, Kobi moved to New York where he became the creative force behind the Elie Tahari brand for 13 years. In 2012, Kobi became the Executive Creative Director at Kenneth Cole Productions for 3 years.
After 16 years as an accomplished Executive Creative Director, Kobi Halperin stepped into the forefront and launched his own label with his Fall 2015 collection. The label embodies a European sensibility and attitude and is known for its crafted artisan details and modern femininity. The collection draws its primary inspiration from Kobi’s past and upbringing during a more idyllic and romantic era.
In its launch season, the collection was picked up by Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Scoop, Shopbop, and other specialty stores.
Kobi continues aiming to elevate the everyday by bringing to the market collections that are rich in luxurious textiles and beautiful embellishments. His collections are skewed towards emotional novelty pieces with a focus on blouses, dresses, skirts, leathers and vests.
Aside from growing his business – Kobi’s other passion in life is mentoring students. He is actively involved with cultivating and developing Shenkar College’s emerging fashion students and being a mentor to Savannah College of Art and Design students.
Kobi Halperin currently lives in New York City and is married with two daughters.
Nicolas Topiol began his career as a bond trader and a treasurer for the French subsidiary of the Standard Chartered Bank. Subsequent to obtaining his graduate Masters in Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, he joined the private equity and mergers and acquisition departments at Société Générale before joining the French offices of Apax Partners.
Nicolas Topiol moved to the United States in 1994 to pursue his private equity expertise in developing a commodities investment and trading holding Company with a fellow Wharton alumnus. In 1999, Nicolas Topiol made a direct investment and subsequently operationally joined the founders of two watch and jewellery e-commerce businesses in their inception (Timezone.com and then Ashford.com, Diamond.com and Worldofwatches.com) to lead the fund-raising and development of those Internet ventures organically and thru further acquisitions.
Nicolas Topiol joined with the Family office of the Falic Family in 2002, when he was retained to restructure one of the family controlled portfolio company. The relationship expanded to the establishment of subsidiary duty free retail and distribution operations in Central and South America, the acquisition from LVMH of Hard Candy and Urban Decay Cosmetics and the subsequent restructuring and development of those companies. Urban Decay was sold to Castanea Partners in March 2009 and is now owned by L’Oreal.
In early 2005, Nicolas Topiol negotiated the purchase of the House of Christian Lacroix from LVMH and became its President. Under his leadership, the House of Christian Lacroix established stand alone back-office, sales, IT, warehousing and logistical infrastructures previously integrated within an LVMH subsidiary. A complete brand and product repositioning strategy was initiated to position the Company as a pure play luxury brand close to its Haute Couture roots. In May of 2009, as a result of the worldwide financial crisis, the Company was forced to seek protection under the French Commerce court. Nicolas Topiol took the leadership in driving this process which was successfully managed with an exit preserving ownership and with a restructured organization, refinanced debts and setting the basis for the redevelopment of the Company under a newly designed business model focusing on managing the “Christian Lacroix” brand through licensing contracts and partnerships. The Brand is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year and has now expanded into multiple product categories worldwide.
Throughout his career, Nicolas Topiol has developed international expertise in various industries, as well as in acquisitions and direct investments in private companies and has further complemented this expertise with hands-on operational work in the United States and Europe and worldwide business development. Nicolas Topiol is a member of the Alumni Executive Board of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Los Angeles-based jewelry designer Yves Spinelli combines a contemporary minimalist aesthetic with a love for materials and craftsmanship that he inherited from his Italian father, a fourth-generation trained blacksmith. A longtime manager for the iconic West Hollywood boutique Maxfield and its sister store Maxfield Bleu, Yves felt there was something missing in the men’s market full of ornate and gothic options. He dreamed of a piece of jewelry that was tough but also modern and sculptural.
Drawing inspiration from a 1971 National Geographic poster
hanging in his garage, Yves thought about the cosmos and how gravitationally bound systems of stars are tied into patterns that evolve over time. He created a set of sterling silver linked rings of different thicknesses which could be worn a number of ways—spread across three fingers, or stacked on one. He soon found his clients, both male and female, eager to literally buy this first set of Galaxy Rings off his hands.
Yves launched Spinelli Kilcollin in 2010. As he made the move to fine jewelry, experimenting with precious metals and pavé diamond setting, the Spinelli Kilcollin circle has expanded exponentially. The brand has since opened retail accounts internationally that include: Colette, A’maree’s, Dover Street Market, Harrods, Matchesfashion.com, and all locations of Barneys New York.
This event starts on January 30th at 6:00 PM.
YJP is an exclusive community dedicated to connecting young professionals with current industry leaders to help them become the leaders and entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Our signature roundtable format was specifically designed to foster organic discussions about the future of fashion and luxury, develop new long-term professional relationships, and allow our members to explore potential partnerships and professional opportunities. Join us for gourmet bites, signature cocktails, and strategic networking as we convene with New York's top fashion and luxury leaders.
Questions about this event? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org .