NEW YORK — Cash-strapped NexCen Brands Inc. is exiting its consumer brands and licensing business and selling design-house Bill Blass and home line Waverly. And there is no shortage of financial suitors.
Sources said NexCen last week cleaned house, letting go employees from multiple departments that were deemed non-essential. In addition to support staff, hard hit were the investor relations and marketing departments. NexCen last week hired Financial Dynamics to handle its investor relations work. The firm on Friday said NexCen had received a notice of delisting from the Nasdaq. It was expected by NexCen, which last week said it would file an appeal. Pending a decision, the company's stock will remain listed on Nasdaq.
NexCen's Charles Zona, an executive vice president who oversaw the company's licensing operations, is said to have left the company. One source said that now that NexCen is staying within just the franchising zone, Zona's services were no longer required. Zona could not be reached for comment.
Pressured by a near-term operating cash shortfall, president and chief executive officer Robert D'Loren said last Monday in a conference call to Wall Street that NexCen will be focusing on reducing expenses. NexCen's ceo in the past week is believed to have had exploratory conversations with potential buyers of its Blass and Waverly assets. The firm needs to shed those assets first and use the funds to pay down the debt. Such a move, if done quickly enough, would give the company a fighting chance in avoiding a bankruptcy. D'Loren could not be reached for comment.
Arnold Simon, president and chief executive officer of Designer Licensing Holdings, which has the license for Bill Blass jeanswear and owns 10 percent of the Blass trademark, said Friday that he was assembling a group of investors to make a bid on the Blass business, and sources said Tharanco Group, headed by Haresh Tharani, and Iconix Brand Group Inc. also have expressed interest.
Windsong Brands, which led an investment group to acquire Ellen Tracy earlier this year, is said to be interested in both Waverly, the home furnishings business, and Blass. William Sweedler, chairman and ceo of Windsong, declined comment.
Richard Baker, ceo of NRDC Equity Partners, isn't interested in buying the Blass business, said a spokeswoman for Baker. NRDC owns Lord & Taylor and Creative Design Studio, and also has invested in numerous designers, including Peter Som, who designs Blass' women's line as well as his own.
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)