PARIS — Charles Jourdan, the troubled French luxury footwear and accessories brand that filed for bankruptcy protection in September, is being liquidated by the French commercial courts.
The disclosure Monday came after the American group Omniscent, which was the last candidate for the purchase of Jourdan, stepped away from the negotiating table.
Rick and Kathy Hilton — the parents of Paris and Nicky — are investment partners in Omniscent and were interested in the luxury shoe brand to launch a Kathy Hilton by Charles Jourdan line of shoes.
"After gathering up all the information by the forensic accountant, we decided to withdraw," said Lucien Lallouz, president of Omniscent. "There were too many uncertainties as to who really owns the brand."
Jourdan had sold the rights to its brand name in North America, Lallouz said, without discussing details. Earlier this month, Lallouz said he was optimistic about a resolution. Omniscent was deciding whether to buy the company for a symbolic euro, or $1.44 at current exchange.
Last month, French shoe firm Repetto retracted its offer to buy the company because of the uncertainty.
Founded in 1921 by French shoemaker Charles Jourdan, the firm opened its first store in Paris in 1957 and reached its zenith in the Seventies, when Jourdan's platform shoes were an integral accessory to the disco scene.
Financial troubles in 2002 led to the shuttering of several Charles Jourdan stores, the layoffs of one-third of its workforce and the hiring of designers (Patrick Cox, who left in December 2004, and Joseph Thimister, who departed in May). But those moves failed to bring the brand back. Its latest collection, unveiled at the Premiere Classe trade fair here in September, was designed by an in-house team.
Although Jourdan executives did not disclose numbers, industry sources estimated the company carried a debt of 2 million euros, or about $2.9 million.
"Charles Jourdan is dead. It's a catastrophe," said Bénédicte Jourdan, granddaughter of the house's founder. "We fought for many years. Charles Jourdan was the leader. To see all its savoir-faire and history vanish is a total shock."Jourdan blamed the decline on a competitive high-end footwear market dominated by major luxury houses such as Jimmy Choo, as well as on management.
The brand's last owner, Yannis Bilquez, was arrested by Swiss police this month for alleged "disloyal management." He had purchased Jourdan two years ago via a Luxembourg holding company called Finaluxe.
From overseeing America’s fastest-growing speciality retailers to codifying cool, WWD talked to the women who are leading the way for the future of beauty. Check out our Instagram Stories to see how these women built today and are creating tomorrow. (📸: @hannah_khymych) #wwdbeauty
For @laperlalingerie's spring 2018 show, the brand chose to host their event at @thevenetianmacao. With Chinese megastars @bingbing_fan and @hubing in attendance, La Perla debuted a rock ‘n’ roll-inspired collection. The show marked the start of Sands Macao Fashion Week, which runs from October 19 to 24 — the city’s first such event. Pictured here are models backstage with glimmering eyes. #wwdfashion (📷: Cheuk-Yin To)
Trending for spring 2018: top stitch design. Gone are the days of stitch just for seams — designers are using the once-minimal detail to create strong decorative elements. (📷: Paola Testa; Styled by @andrew_shang) #wwdfashion
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)