For an evening, Winnipeg, an industrious city in the heart of Canada, dreamed of itself, through the grace of its child prodigy, as a fashion capital of the world. That evening, March 16, 2018, on the stage of the Convention Center, ready-to-wear lines in slightly garish colors parade by “Nygard”. Surrounded by 600 guests, 77-year-old Peter Nygard celebrates 50 years of his company, Nygard International, from which he has made a Canadian fashion empire. Alongside him is all the political and showbiz gratin of Manitoba. For the occasion, huge photos of Peter Nygard, arms crossed on tanned pecs, adorn the streets of Winnipeg.
1er October 2021, change of scenery: Peter Nygard is alone in the box of the accused in the court of the capital of Manitoba. He faces an extradition request from the United States justice. Nine charges, including “sex trafficking and racketeering”, are brought against him. Arrested on December 14, 2020 in Winnipeg, he has since been held in a correctional center in the province. Canada is shocked to discover that it has pampered and adored a man who could join the list of the worst sexual predators in history alongside Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein.
The story of little Peter, 11, in 1952, when his family arrived from Finland, had everything of the “North American dream”: a son of immigrants who spent his first Canadian winter in a disused coal shed, became in a few years member of the gotha of the richest men of the country, with a fortune estimated at 900 million dollars.
It was in Winnipeg that the offspring laid the groundwork for its success: a modest local women’s clothing company bought in 1968. Very quickly, the brand developed, in New York, Los Angeles, Florida. At the height of its glory, the Nygard Empire sells 500 million clothes a year and employs 30,000 people worldwide.
The man does not hide his success or his pride: always a stream of supermodels in his arms, he struts through the streets of Winnipeg in convertible Rolls registered “Nygard”, travels in a private jet branded with his name, nicknamed ” N-Force ”, buys a sumptuous estate on the island of the Bahamas, immediately baptized“ Nygard Cay ”. Canada honors the self-made man: the government grants him the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal.
An industrial scale predation system
It will be necessary to wait for the breath of #metoo for the king of Canadian fashion to fall. On February 25, 2020, the FBI raided the headquarters of Nygard International in New York and Los Angeles. The same evening, Peter Nygard left the presidency of his group, but refuted “All allegations” set out against him. The spectacular police raid was triggered by the rape complaint filed a few days earlier by ten women.
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