LONDON — Daniella Helayel, the founder and creative director of Issa London, which made headlines when the Duchess of Cambridge revealed her engagement wearing one of the label’s dresses, has left the company.
This story first appeared in the May 23, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
An announcement is expected today.
Her departure comes two years after Camilla Al Fayed, a daughter of Mohamed Al Fayed, the former owner of Harrods, took a 51 percent stake in a new company set up to develop the Issa brand globally. Helayel was the minority shareholder.
Helayel will be succeeded by the designer Blue Farrier, who has worked with Phoebe Philo at Chloé, and for brands including Stella McCartney, Sandro and Anya Hindmarch.
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Angelina Ypma, who took over last year as chief executive officer of Issa London, said: “I am [pleased] to welcome Blue as the new creative director of Issa at such an exciting time. Her vision and passion will be vital as we expand into new categories and markets and continue the development of Issa into a truly global lifestyle brand.”
Helayel will leave the business to pursue other interests, starting at end of the year. “The time has come for me to move on to focus on my art, travel and other interests. Creating Issa has been one of the most rewarding things in my life. I may be leaving, but the Issa girl will live forever in my heart.”
Industry sources said that Helayel left the company by mutual agreement, and the split was not acrimonious. A source familiar with the company said that both sides had been unhappy for a while, so Helayel’s departure was not a shock.
The company confirmed that Helayel would fulfill Issa’s collaborations with Banana Republic and C&A in Brazil.
As reported, Issa is collaborating with Banana to produce a 40-piece collection that launches on Aug. 6. The line will be carried at more than 450 Banana units in the U.S. and about 700 stores globally, as well as online.
The company said that Issa London achieved record sales in the first full year under new ownership, and continues to grow strongly across all key markets. Al Fayed remains its majority owner and chairwoman.
The brand recently opened its first freestanding store in Japan with others planned to open in the near future, the company said. Issa London now wholesales through 350 stockists globally.
The brand is best known for its figure-flattering jersey dresses in bold solids or bright prints, and shows during London Fashion Week.