Exclusive: CEO of luxury brand Seafolly discusses US Expansion, LVHM and Gigi Hadid

By Shane Watson

Variety is not always the best spice in life.

There is such a thing as “too much.”

You can’t win them all.

These are phrases that some critics may have wanted to say – or even (prematurely) said – to Australian-born swimwear brand Seafolly. And for a time, they were right.

Despite a jaw-dropping swimwear line founded on vibrant print and female-flattering – and favored – cuts, current CEO Anthony Halas knew there were changes to be made when he bought out a shareholder of the family business in 1998.

“At that point in time, the company was doing lots and lots of things: active wear, apparel, swimwear, [underwear],” said Halas, in an exclusive interview with Laura Close, Editor of our sister brand, Business Review Australia. “When I took over the business, I saw that there was this little jewel, Seafolly, that was a very small brand at the time. I stopped the business from doing every other market it was in and purely focused on Seafolly.”

And he was right: L Capital Asia, the Asia-based private-equity fund sponsored by LVMH Moët Hennessy • Louis Vuitton S.A., currently owns a controlling stake in the swimwear brand.

“Seafolly was being approached for years by private equity or trade buyers who wanted to invest in our business," Halas said. "I never came across someone who could truly add value and truly help the brand meet its longer-term goals [until] LVMH. After two months of being partners, they already are adding value.”

Americans, this is when we get excited.

Having the Parisian-based, internationally-admired conglomerate at its side, Halas continued, provided the brand with an opportunity to expand on a global-scale.

Debuting in the Land of the Free in 2013, the brand has wasted no time establishing its mark and making a splash stateside, appearing on shelves of high-end retailers and upscale boutiques. Always ahead of the, ahem, curve, Seafolly recently named American-born model Gigi Hadid as the face of the brand.

“She’s healthy, vibrant—I think a lot of women see that Gigi doesn’t have the stick-thin model figure, but a curvy, vivacious one. I think she just represents that healthy, active lifestyle that Seafolly is about," Halas shared.

Today’s “It Girl” just may be tomorrow’s icon (her recent roster includes print campaigns for Guess; walks for Marc Jacobs during New York Fashion Week; and more life-changing appearances for Jean Paul Gaultier, Sonia Rykiel, and Chanel during Paris Fashion Week), and the combination of Hadid and Seafolly are sure to impress.

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