NEW YORK — Kay Unger, cofounder and creative director of Kay Unger New York and Phoebe Couture, is leaving the company to focus on philanthropy and other creative endeavors.
“I’ve been toying with it for quite a while,” said Unger, 67, who told the staff Friday. She said her primary focus will be the Steven Julius Foundation, which she started with her two grown sons in 2010. The foundation is primarily committed to cancer research and care and to funding scholarships for inner-city children in the visual arts through Parsons The New School for Design. “I have several million dollars in there, and I’m so passionate about it,” said Unger.
Unger co-founded Kay Unger New York in 1995 with Rob Feinberg, chief executive officer. The privately held firm will continue under Feinberg. The company launched Phoebe Couture as a younger, spirited brand in 2007. Both labels, which generate more than $30 million in wholesale sales volume, are carried in specialty and department stores throughout the U.S., such as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and Lord & Taylor, and in 20 international markets. In 2007, freestanding Kay Unger and Phoebe Couture boutiques were opened throughout China and Seoul.
“After founding three companies, interacting with thousands of loyal customers and designing clothes that make women look and feel their best, it is time for me to focus on my other passions,” said Unger, who also plans to travel, work on her sculpture, and continue collecting art.
“Kay’s creative spirit has been at the heart of our brands, and while we are sad to see her depart, we are confident in our future success thanks in part to the great example she has set,” said Feinberg. He said the firm, which manufactures mostly dresses, is positioned for the future with a team of designers who will continue to carry the Kay Unger and Phoebe Couture brands forward.
“Kay and I have worked together for 32 years. I’ve outlasted two husbands. This was her decision,” said Feinberg, who said they’ve been talking about this for the past nine months. “Kay wouldn’t have left if we weren’t [well] positioned. Her name is very important to her.” Kay Unger New York will own the rights to Unger’s name. She will no longer own the company, which is majority owned by Feinberg, with some private investors.
Prior to forming Kay Unger New York, Unger was the creative head and co-founder of The Gillian Group, which included the St. Gillian and A.J. Bari lines. Before that, she had her own namesake line using Liberty of London prints. She started her career at Geoffrey Beene after graduating from Parsons.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)