“We regret Simon’s unfortunate decision to leave the company. The company plans to continue without Simon and is looking towards a bright future as its business continues to mature,” wrote co-founder Judd Nydes in an e-mail to WWD, attributing the statement to the company’s board. “We are very proud of everything that has been achieved since the startup of the company and owe our gratitude to our investors, staff and clients for the phenomenal teamwork in the buildup of the Simon Spurr and Spurr brands.”
Both Spurr and Nydes declined to elaborate on the specific issues that drove the designer to resign on March 16 from the men’s brand he co-founded and helped build into a promising new player in the designer market. However, both made veiled references to disagreements or disputes among the brand’s founders and possibly with Hugo Stenbeck, a key financial backer of the company.
In an interview, Spurr said the circumstances that led to his departure “had been going on for a while” and that he “had tried to work things out” before leaving the company. The designer emphasized that he wanted the stores, factories and editors that supported the brand to know his decision was “terribly difficult” and not one that he made lightly. “I don’t want them to think I’ve abandoned them. They are like family to me,” he added.
However, Spurr said he was resolute in his departure: “My intention at this time is not to change my path. I am working with the Nydes-Spurr shareholders in an effort to find a resolution to the company situation.”
Nydes responded that Spurr has not been in touch with company officials since his exit. “Although there were certain issues surrounding his departure from the company, he hasn’t reached out to anybody to discuss a solution,” said Nydes, who runs an investment firm and launched the brand with Spurr in 2006.
Spurr remains in his outside role as men’s creative consultant for the Tommy Hilfiger runway collection. “That is unchanged. I continue to provide consulting services to Tommy Hilfiger exactly as before,” he said. “It was never my intention to join another company, despite all the speculation.”
If Spurr remains separated from his eponymous brand, his name will stay with the company, said Nydes. “The brands are owned by the company and there is a lot of work to do,” he noted.
Spurr remains an equity partner in Simon Spurr. Nydes retains an investment stake and, according to sources, so does Stenbeck, the wealthy scion of a prominent Swedish family that founded and retains large holdings in Investment AB Kinnevik, a multibillion-dollar media, telecom and paper products conglomerate. Spurr confirmed that Stenbeck holds a stake in Simon Spurr, but Nydes denied that Stenbeck is an equity partner.
“Hugo Stenbeck is part of our company, but not personally a shareholder,” said Nydes, declining to elaborate further on Stenbeck’s role. However, according to sources with knowledge of Simon Spurr’s operations, Stenbeck has been central to funding the company’s development over the past years.
An avid sailor, Stenback last summer captained a Simon Spurr-sponsored racing yacht in a series of sailing regattas. The sleek 90-foot vessel, emblazoned with bold Simon Spurr logos on its hull and sails, won races in Antigua and St. Barth’s.
“It is an extraordinary situation to secure backing for and confidence in an emerging brand in the fashion industry in the magnitude the company experienced,” noted Nydes.
According to sources, Stenbeck had appointed a Switzerland-based consulting firm called Platform Consulting, headed by Margrethe van der Stroom, to help devise strategies to meet revenue, margin and profit goals.
Spurr is currently nominated for a CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year Award and said he is looking forward to attending the ceremony on June 4. “Hell yeah. If they don’t vote for me this year, they’re not going to next year,” said the designer. “It’s now or never.”
He added that he is “looking forward with great hope and excitement toward my future within the industry as a men’s fashion designer.”
“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