In a surprise development, Tiffany & Co. has acquired the 10-year old luxury American accessories brand from Samsonite. Lambertson Truex filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March after Samsonite put the brand up for sale in December. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
Richard Lambertson and John Truex will join Tiffany & Co. effective today, according to a Tiffany spokeswoman. Lambertson and Truex are expected to explore the development of an accessories collection to complement Tiffany & Co.’s assortment.
“We have long admired the design talents and classic elegance of the Lambertson and Truex team and classic elegance of their brand and believe it is a perfect match for Tiffany,” said Michael J. Kowalski, chairman and chief executive officer of Tiffany. “It is not often that talent of this caliber becomes available, creating a unique opportunity for Tiffany to broaden our accessories offerings.”
“We are so excited by this prospect,” said Lambertson. “Tiffany is a great American brand, and we think Lambertson Truex is a great American brand.”
Truex added, “This is an awesome moment for us, and we are so thrilled to be a part of the Tiffany legacy.”
Lambertson and Truex will close their namesake brand’s 17th Street headquarters and showroom in New York and move to Tiffany’s offices at 600 Madison Avenue. It could not be learned at press time whether staff would move to Tiffany and whether the Lambertson Truex brand will continue as its own entity.
Luxury accessories were selling at an all-time high in 2006 when Samsonite sought to diversify its holdings and acquired Lambertson Truex. The designers, who launched their own firm in 1999, have résumés that include longtime stints at firms such as Gucci, Bergdorf Goodman, Carlos Falchi and ck Calvin Klein.
Known for their high-end leather and exotic skin handbags, Lambertson Truex’s average handbag price point ranges from $3,000 to $5,000, and exotic skins climb far higher. There is also a footwear collection. The brand was distributed at specialty stores such as Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, in addition to other independent specialty shops.
With Samsonite’s guidance, Lambertson Truex opened its first stand-alone stores in New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. The stores are now closed.
Tiffany & Co. is one of the few powerhouse jewelry firms that hasn’t pushed leather goods in a big way. Cartier, Bulgari and Chopard all have made significant headway into the handbag and leather goods market in the past several years.
For the fourth quarter ended Jan. 31, Tiffany reported a 75.6 percent decline in earnings to $31.1 million, on sales that fell 20.1 percent to $841.2 million.
Tiffany’s shares fell 2.9 percent to $28.10 Friday.
“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