New York State Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Oing on Friday granted designer Rachel Roy a preliminary injunction barring The Jones Group from proceeding with the sale of her business to Bluestar Alliance for $14.6 million.
The granting of the preliminary injunction allows Roy’s lawsuit to proceed to trial.
Roy said, “I am pleased with today’s ruling and that the court has recognized my rights to creative control and approval over the designs and licenses for my brand. I have worked hard to develop the Rachel Roy brand, and my team and I are eager to continue our focus on design, development and production.”
The designer entered into a series of interrelated agreements with Jones in 2008 to develop and sell products under the Rachel Roy brand. The agreements include the transfer of intellectual property assets, an asset purchase agreement, a licensing agreement and an employment agreement establishing Roy as artistic director for the Rachel Roy brand. She is still an employee of Jones, although her business was shut down by the group prior to its acquisition by Sycamore Partners for $2.2 billion.
Roy on April 11 filed a lawsuit against Jones claiming breach of a contractual agreement in connection with the sale of her business, which allegedly was done “free and clear” of the designer’s approval rights. Named as defendants were Jones Investment Co. Inc., Jones Apparel Group USA Inc. and The Jones Group Inc. Neither Sycamore nor Bluestar was named as a defendant in the suit.
After a hearing, Oing in a bench ruling said, “The injunction is now against the defendants, and it prevents them pending trial of this matter [from] selling or transferring the Rachel Roy brand trademarks in any manner that does not fully preserve Ms. Roy’s rights of approval and creative control over the use of the trademark.”
As for Oing’s reasoning, he went on to say in court: “Irreparable harm is that, you know, when it comes to trademarks, when it comes to designs, it’s very personal in nature.…This is something that she created, it’s her baby in that sense.…And I can’t help but think that [her trademark or] what she has worked hard at to develop would somehow go downscale or may go downscale, and it may go down to lower end, which is not what she envisioned, and that’s why this contract is written the way it’s written.”
Marc Kasowitz of Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, who represents the designer, said, “We are very pleased to have achieved this important victory for Rachel. The judge clearly recognized that Rachel Roy herself is the critical component of her business and her brand.”
Oing’s ruling and reasoning on Friday goes solely to the question of whether Roy has sufficiently shown likelihood of success and irreparable harm, the two requirements that must be met before a preliminary injunction can be granted.
The parties still have to go to trial on the actual merits of the case. There is no guarantee that just because Roy has met the conditions for a preliminary injunction, she will also win at trial.
A spokesman for Sycamore, Jones’ new owner, declined comment.
Roy’s designer collection is what was shut down by Jones. There is also a Rachel Rachel Roy contemporary collection that is sold exclusively to Macy’s, which Jones will continue to produce.
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)