American Living could be one of the causalities of Ron Johnson’s reinvention of J.C. Penney Co. Inc.
Penney’s is said to be reviewing the brand, which is produced by Ralph Lauren Corp. and was hailed in 2008 as the retailer’s biggest launch ever, covering women’s, men’s, kids, accessories and home.
A spokeswoman for Penney’s said: “We will share information about what we are doing as it is happening. We don’t comment on future merchandise plans.”
And a Lauren spokesman noted: “Ralph Lauren Corp. has a strong working relationship with J.C. Penney which continues today. Over the past few months, we have met several times with Ron Johnson and his team and are excited to hear his vision for J.C. Penney as he unveils his plans for the company in January.”
Johnson, who is best known for spearheading Apple Inc.’s innovative and highly successful retail effort and also helped make Target Corp. a powerhouse, plans to unveil his vision for Penney at a Jan. 25 analyst meeting in New York.
The chief executive officer and Penney have been mum on just how the retailer will evolve under his leadership, but dramatic change is in the offing. Already, Penney acquired a minority stake in Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. and plans to start opening Martha Stewart shop-in-shops in February 2013. The chain also plans to adjust its pricing strategy.
“I’m not here to improve, I’m here to transform,” Johnson told employees at the company’s Plano, Tex., headquarters on his first day on the job last month.
Uncertainty surrounding the retailer’s changes has apparel vendors anxious. Many are said to be at least internally reducing their planned business with Penney next year.
The future of American Living is seen as uncertain at the least. Even if the business is shuttered, Lauren and Penney could continue their collaboration in some other form.
American Living was somewhat star-crossed from the start, running headlong into a deep recession and financial crisis. The brand was launched at the high-end of Penney’s price scale and bore some of Lauren’s classic preppy feel, but didn’t benefit from the halo of the Lauren brand.
Johnson’s predecessor, Myron E. “Mike” Ullman 3rd — who is currently Penney’s executive chairman and used to sit on Lauren’s board — said this summer that American Living was “a top-10 brand” in the store.
Even so, the brand has come under increasing competition from the roll out of Liz Claiborne apparel in Penney’s, a line that is said to be performing well and is now owned by the retailer.
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)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“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