When Gordon Thompson III joined Cole Haan as executive vice president and creative director in 1999, he knew he had quite a challenge on his hands.
“Cole Haan had great ingredients, but a lousy recipe…it’s been a very rational brand without a lot of emotion,” Thompson recently told WWD. “The last three years have been devoted to reengineering, and reintroducing a lot of emotion in women.”
Thompson immediately jazzed up the footwear assortment and added the Nike Air technology, which quickly became a Cole Haan classic. Under his direction, Cole Haan has diversified into handbags, which are produced in-house; outerwear, licensed to G-III Apparel Group, and watches with Fossil. Last spring, the Nike Inc. divisionlaunched the G Series shoe collection, which combines Nike technology with designs that skew a younger, hipper customer.
Cole Haan’s philosophy? “It’s casual luxury coupled with an American fashion brand,” said Thompson.
REED KRAKOFF FOR COACH
Since joining Coach in 1996, Reed Krakoff has steered the reinvention of a classic handbag brand into an accessories powerhouse. Under his fashion direction, the 62-year-old New York-based company has become one of fashion’s most successful firms, with stellar sales and earnings results that have made it a Wall Street darling as well as a consumer favorite.
A graduate of the Parsons School of Design, Krakoff designed women’s wear at Polo Ralph Lauren and was creative director at Tommy Hilfiger before joining Coach, where he quickly began an overhaul. He started using more fabrics and lighter-weight leathers. The product line now includes gloves, shoes, sunglasses and luggage as well as furniture and a selection of men’s and women’s wear. For fall, Coach’s offerings include patchwork totes and fur gloves, wristlets and outerwear such as shearlings and ski jackets.
MARC JACOBS FOR LOUIS VUITTON
Few master the art of must-have handbags like Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton. Since joining Vuitton as artistic director in 1997, he created a ready-to-wear collection, and overhauled the signature leather goods assortment, making Vuitton red-hot again.Jacobs’ first hit, in spring 1998, was the pastel Monogram Vernis, a glossy, patent leather handbag with the Vuitton icons in relief. He followed it up by collaborating with designer Stephen Sprouse on graffiti handbags, and illustrator Julie Verhoeven for delightful snail, butterfly and owl collages.
But Vuitton’s latest, the rainbow-colored monogrammed bags with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, looks set to become a new landmark for the house. Within days of the spring 2003 collection, waiting lists were drawn, a black market erupted on eBay, and near-perfect copies trickled onto Canal Street. Everyone, it seems, wants a Murakami these days. “The reach of it, we had no idea,” Jacobs said in a recent interview. “I love that we’re involved in the creation of something that almost seems historic.”
TOMAS MAIER AT BOTTEGA VENETA
Bottega Veneta is known for its high-quality, artisanal accessories, and Tomas Maier has continued to build on this tradition while adding some modern touches. Maier joined the 37-year-old Italian luxury firm as creative director in 2001, shortly after the company was purchased by Gucci Group. Under his leadership, Bottega has stayed close to its heritage with a focus on craftsmanship while adding new weaves such as the zigzag, which brings some zip to the brand, as well as adornments such as fringe, beads and ceramic trimmings.
To underscore the brand’s exclusivity, Maier has created limited editions and artistic collaborations each season, including one this past spring with mixed-media artist Nancy Lorenz to create lacquer-and-leather boxes.
A native of Germany, Maier trained at the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris and worked at some luxury goods houses, including Hermès, where he was the women’s rtw designer and also designed leather goods and accessories. Maier began his own collection called Poolwear in 1998, which he continues to produce.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews