NEW YORK — Leonard Marcus, long-time president of Macy’s Merchandising Group, helped negotiate and ultimately signed the department store’s 2006 agreement to make and sell Martha Stewart home goods — but only after he spent months as a self-described “roadblock” to the deal.
“I was very skeptical of the business opportunity,” said Marcus, noting Martha Stewart had recently been released from prison, that her brand had a history with the lower-priced Kmart chain and that he preferred to own brands rather than build them up only to risk losing them.
That last concern was realized, in dramatic form, in 2011 when Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. sold a 16.6 percent stake in its business to J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and inked a deal to set up home goods shops-in-shop with the chain. Macy’s Inc. disputed the agreement in January 2012, beginning the legal battle that ultimately brought Marcus to the witness chair in a Manhattan courtroom Thursday.
“When I heard about [the Martha Stewart deal with Penney’s], I was shocked, I was angered, I was ticked off,” Marcus said. “The first thing that went through my mind was, ‘I cannot believe [it], this is exactly what I was afraid of when we did this contract, that we were going to do a deal and then somehow we’re not going to have the exclusive rights.’ I was flabbergasted.”
Marcus was just the first witness in what’s expected to be hard-fought case with testimony from Macy’s chairman, president and chief executive officer Terry J. Lundgren, Martha Stewart herself and Penney’s ceo Ron Johnson.
One of the key matters to be decided by New York Supreme Court Judge Jeffrey Oing during the trial will be if MSLO was within its rights under its contract with Macy’s to set up shops-in-shop at Penney’s.
The Macy’s agreement allows for MSLO to set up its own stores, which the home goods firm contends covers shop-in-shops in Penney’s.
Marcus said the issue of Martha Stewart stores came up near the end of Macy’s negotiations with the brand. He said Martha Stewart’s chairman at the time, Charles Koppelman, said, “Ms. Stewart always had a dream to have a concept store, à la Ralph Lauren.…It was his request that Macy’s has to make merchandise for that store because he knew they couldn’t do it themselves, they have no manufacturing arm... It was, ‘We may at some point decide to do this.’ There was always going to be a Rodeo Drive, a Madison Avenue [store], a big ‘wow’ for Martha Stewart.”
It was a different kind of “wow,” with lots of legal fireworks, that Stewart ultimately made by signing on with Penney’s.
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
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“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@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