NEW YORK — Susan Sokol is said to have resigned as president and chief operating officer of J.Mendel, a post she has held since October 2008.
Sokol declined comment Monday, and a spokeswoman for J.Mendel would only say: “She’s very much in place as our president and excitedly working on the show.” J.Mendel will show its fall collection on Wednesday at 2 p.m.
Over the past four years, Sokol has steadily transformed J.Mendel from a fifth-generation French fur house into a global luxury label. During her tenure, the brand entered new markets; introduced several new categories, such as handbags, home design and fashion accessories, and broadened its reputation beyond luxurious fur coats. The company began offering a wider price range and more diversified collection, showing four times a year instead of twice, and refining its logo, image and packaging. Ready-to-wear now accounts for 60 percent of Mendel’s total wholesale business.
In an interview last year, Sokol said she was working on expanding the wholesale business, which accounted for 35 percent of volume, up from 15 percent three years ago. Its wholesale accounts include Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and the Joyce stores. In addition to its boutiques in New York, Paris and Moscow, the company has concept shops at Bergdorf’s and Hirshleifer’s in Manhasset, N.Y., as well as Harrods in London and Saks Jandel in Chevy Chase, Md.
The Gores Group, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm, took a significant stake in J.Mendel in 2010. This past December, Gores Group acquired contemporary brand Cynthia Vincent, which does in excess of $10 million in annual wholesale volume. In 2011, Gores Group acquired manufacturing company Big Strike, known for its mass-market and junior brands such as Heart Soul, Free to Love and Tracy Evans, as a platform to acquire more apparel brands in nonluxury categories. Cynthia Vincent was the first Big Strike investment.
Alec Gores, founder of The Gores Group, couldn’t be reached for comment Monday on Sokol’s departure, nor could Gilles Mendel, creative director.
Before joining Mendel, Sokol was president of Vera Wang for four years. She played a key role in reshaping what was then primarily a bridal business into a fashion brand with designer rtw and sportswear. At Wang, she also helped develop the contemporary Lavender label, which at one point was sold in more than 400 doors but has since folded. (Wang recently licensed the better-price dress business to The Levy Group.)
A grooming moment between @tanfrance and @antoni last night at the The LGBT Community Center Trailblazer Awards honoring Anna Wintour, Ricky Martin and more. See more photos at WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
“It was a very surreal feeling. It wasn’t like we were in the studio together coming up with it — it’s more like he discovered it and loved it. I didn’t let myself get my hopes up, but then it happened it was very exciting,” said singer-songwriter @nombe on discovering that @pharrell would be using his song, “Cant Catch Me” on his HBO documentary series “Outpost.” The German-born singer — named Noah MacBeth — talked to WWD about feminism, using art as a platform for political expression and personal style. Read more on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
This season, denim is going west – in influence. Brands like @fathersdaughterla (pictured here), @tommyhilfiger Jeans, @levis and more are opting for raw, top-stitching styles. (Styled by @thealexbadia; 📷: @ryanplett)
20-year-old British singer @jorjasmith_ made her debut at Coachella last weekend. We caught up with her and talked about her love for Amy Winehouse, working with Kendrick Lamar on the “Black Panther” album and her fashion philosophy. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @katiedaisyla)
Supermodel @helenachristensen teamed up with longtime friend and designer @camillastaerk on a joint @paredeyewear collaboration. The lineup features three styles and 11 offerings, all of which embody a vintage feel. Get all the details on how they celebrated the collab on WWD.com. #wwdaccessories #wwdeye (📷: @slovekinpics)
“It’s a hard industry to keep motivated, as well, so finding different subjects and people is what makes it worth it – when you’re like, oh, I’ve met great people, I feel like I’ve done something good, and I feel proud of having done this,” said French actress Stacy Martin on being grateful for the variety of roles she’s take on. Read @ktauer’s full interview with Martin on her her latest film “Godard Mon Amour.” #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)