Philip Crangi doesn’t know the meaning of sibling rivalry. The jeweler has worked alongside his younger sister, Courtney, who handles the business end, since they launched the line together in 2001. A few months later, he named his costume collection (the rather egoless) Giles & Brother — Giles is Courtney’s old childhood nickname, though neither one of them can remember its exact origins.
Many of the company’s supporting cast of characters are related, as well. Their father, Philip Sr., created the metal fish sculptures decorating their year-old boutique (which, appropriately, they call “the Crangi Family Project”) in New York’s Meatpacking District. Meanwhile, Courtney’s partner, Sheri, manages the store, and her son, Ryan, works at the studio. Ryan’s girlfriend, Amanda, is on staff at the boutique. “We do everything together,” says Courtney. “This really is a family business.”
Now, meet the newest member of the Crangi clan: Lucas Design International. Giles & Brother has just teamed up with the Los Angeles-based manufacturer, which happens to be helmed by a family duo of its own, cousins Jason and Daniel Landver, who are, respectively, president and creative director, and chief executive officer.
“When Courtney met them, she immediately said, ‘These are people we can talk to,’” says Philip. “And that means getting into heated arguments, if necessary, or being able to just hang out and talk casually about things. It felt very much like an open, comfortable dialogue.”
The Crangis were extremely selective in choosing a partner — “we’ve been looking for the past two years, at least,” notes Philip — but for good reason, since this is the first time Giles & Brother is taking production outside of the firm (the first collection is for spring).
At first glance, though, the coupling could appear off-kilter. Aside from sitting across the country from the New York-based Crangis, Lucas Design is known for its licensing deals with Playboy, Warner Bros. and Disney. What exactly says “perfect fit” about a company that makes Tinker Bell bangles and earrings? Crangi’s jewelry, after all, has a refined and rough-hewn heirloom feel — cuffs in the form of bent railroad spikes, Art Deco-inspired pyramid rings and icicle-shaped pendants.
“First and foremost, the respect for design and the integrity is there,” replies Courtney. “And second, the quality of production is incredible. It’s all about the details.” She points out that Lucas Design was behind the terrific Tom Binns collaboration with Disney Couture, which included some wondrously eclectic necklaces made from tiny broken teacups and kettles. “They also produced a collection for ASOS that really sold me,” she adds. “It was super technical, inside and out, so I felt we could continue the conversation.”
Courtney is also quick to emphasize that the partnership is a manufacturing and distribution deal — not a license. “We’re keeping control of our brand,” she says, adding that Lucas Design also is working with Hatch Showroom for sales as well as metal testing.
“We have a big distribution network,” adds Daniel Landver. “We can leverage all the relationships we have in other countries to grow his business internationally, too.” Currently, the Crangis are eyeing markets in Russia, China, South Korea, Europe and the Middle East.
“Courtney and I realized we needed to focus on what we’re good at,” says Philip, “and what we’re good at is development concepts and design. The more energy we were putting into doing the production, which we did here in our studio, the more it took away from everything else. It really started to drain us.”
The Crangis began reevaluating Giles & Brother back in 2007, when Philip nabbed $50,000 as runner-up to the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. “I think that was the first time we ever really had to have a business plan,” says Philip, a Rhode Island School of Design graduate. “At that moment, we really rallied our forces and focused on what we wanted out of the brand. We wanted to take it to the next level.”
Joining forces with the Landvers is just one of many moves the Crangis have undertaken. The pair also restructured its product range for spring, with an eye toward streamlined merchandising. “Giles & Brother really grew on a merchant-based model, where you have thousands of [stockkeeping units]. But it was a model we were shoehorned into,” Philip explains. “We used to joke that the line sheet looked like the queen’s phone book. Every time Courtney met with a buyer, the store would want to see a design in a different color or something, so we had to add that. It got out of control.” In many ways, he adds, the designs now will come full circle “to the original idea of Giles & Brother, which is artisanal. You must always see that hand.”
Which isn’t to say the new collection will exclude the cleaner looks. The spring roster also features gold-finished brass bangles, punctuated by the occasional chain link, and wide cuffs laced with two-tone strips of leather. “I love the idea of a collected aesthetic now,” Philip remarks, “where it looks like a collection not by one designer, but one collector.”
The Crangis also are considering a second New York store on Madison Avenue, which was Courtney’s idea, as well as developing categories other than jewelry. The two remain mum on the latter, except to say: “Possibly leather goods and eyewear,” according to Courtney.
“I believe success is making yourself available for opportunity,” her brother remarks, “but also letting the right opportunity come to you and not forcing it too much.” As Philip wraps up that thought, their brother-sister dynamic comes into full display as they finish each other’s sentences like twins.
“The most important thing we’ve learned…” begins Courtney. “…is to know thyself,” finishes Philip. Courtney: “We are…” Philip: “…a hell of a lot older than we used to be.”
Courtney: “We’re more cautious, much more patient.”
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty