Several lines that the $4.58 billion company deemed to be underperforming or in need of repositioning — foremost, its flagship Liz Claiborne brand that Isaac Mizrahi is taking over — are slated for spring 2009 relaunches, which will be presented in September.
In addition to the company's namesake better-priced brand, anticipated debuts include Dana Buchman's relaunch down market as an exclusive line with Kohl's, Kate Spade under creative director Deborah Lloyd, John Barlett's relaunch of the better-priced men's label Claiborne and the kickoff of DKNY men's better sportswear.
How "irresistible" — one of the company's favorite words — the product looks will be a measure of the execution of Claiborne's sweeping changes. The most significant will be Mizrahi's take on the $875 million Claiborne brand, which has been troubled for years.
Claiborne chief executive officer William L. McComb described the spring relaunches as "very important and fundamental," but he declined to project volume improvements for the first few seasons, particularly given the unpredictable impact of the economy.
"What matters most in these first few seasons is getting the fundamentals right, making them naturally margining businesses, with sell-throughs our partners admire, that are drivers of traffic in their departments," McComb said. "We are rebuilding this business logically, re-educating consumer and wholesaler, which isn't something that happens in one season."
Analyst Jennifer Black, who initially had been skeptical about the task of Claiborne's turnaround, issued a research note Monday that she labeled, "The revolution has begun — against all odds." Black endorsed the beginnings of what she called a turnaround after seeing Kate Spade's holiday and resort collections, including handbags, footwear and a smattering of apparel.
"We believe the merchandise assortment is headed in the right direction," Black said. "The brand seems a bit whimsical, yet classic, and is well priced, in our opinion. We believe this differentiates it from other competitors such as Coach. The current assortment in stores does not reflect what is to come and is much improved, in our opinion."
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast