NEW YORK — Rachel Roy is trying to stop Jones Apparel Group from selling her business to Bluestar Alliance for $14.6 million, a move that allegedly was done without her consent.
Roy has filed a lawsuit against Jones claiming breach of a contractual agreement in connection with the sale of her business, which allegedly was done “free and clear” of the designer’s approval rights. The lawsuit was filed April 11 in a New York state court in Manhattan. Named as defendants were Jones Investment Co. Inc., Jones Apparel Group USA Inc. and The Jones Group Inc. Jones has since been acquired by Sycamore Partners in a transaction valued at $2.2 billion.
Neither Sycamore nor Bluestar were named as defendants in the suit. As the new owner of Jones, Sycamore executives declined comment on the legal matter.
Roy entered into interrelated agreements with Jones in 2008 to develop and sell products under the Rachel Roy brand. Those agreements include the transfer of intellectual property assets, an asset purchase agreement, a licensing agreement and an employment agreement establishing Roy as artistic director for the Rachel Roy brand.
The agreements were drafted by Jones, and Roy was not represented by counsel in connection with those negotiations, the lawsuit said.
According to the complaint, filed by her attorneys at Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, “Jones had no intention of actually partnering with Ms. Roy, but instead entered into these agreements under false pretenses, and now wrongfully seeks to take exclusive control of Ms. Roy’s brand and the trademarks.”
The lawsuit also said that Roy’s “rights to creative control and approval of designs were non-negotiable conditions of the business relationship.” The court document specified that a critical aspect of the deal with Jones was that Roy “would at all times retain full creative control over the designs that were to be sold under her name, and would have exclusive approval rights over the use of the trademarks.”
Prior to the completion of the sale of Jones to Sycamore, Jones had shut down Roy’s business. The lawsuit said the action was done to “eviscerate” Roy’s Rachel Roy designer brand, and that Jones was “stonewalling” all efforts by her to continue conducting her business. The lawsuit also alleged that executives at Jones were incentivized to sell to Sycamore due to possible “golden parachute compensation” in excess of $53 million, and that it was Sycamore who wanted Jones to “purge the Rachel Roy business.”
The lawsuit also alleged that Jones went ahead with the deal with Bluestar even though there were other parties who were both interested in acquiring the Roy assets and would honor Roy’s approval rights.
There is also a Rachel Rachel Roy contemporary collection that is sold exclusively to Macy’s, which Jones will continue to produce.
Roy is seeking a declaration from the court that Jones had no authority to sell the Rachel Roy trademarks without her “explicit approval.” In addition, due to the alleged breach of the 2008 interrelated agreements between Roy and Jones, she is seeking a rescission, or an undoing, of those agreements, in addition to damages in the form of lost profits and lost opportunities.
“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