MILAN — In a mutual agreement, American designer Rebecca Moses and the Marenzi family, the owners of the apparel manufacturer Herno and the majority shareholders in the designer’s eponymous fashion firm, have decided to suspend the production of next spring’s collection.
This story first appeared in the November 6, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The reason is diverging visions on how to grow the company in terms of ideas, goals and ways to conduct business.
“We decided that it was better to take a pause also to protect the brand and our clients,” said Moses in an exclusive interview at her studio in Borgosesia, located in the mountains of Northern Italy. “I’ve been looking for another partner, but the current economic climate has not prevailed to find the right one.”
Claudio Marenzi, Herno’s chief executive officer, painted a similar picture.
“There were disagreements over long-term strategies and we’re looking to sell our share. Since we’re aware of the non-favorable market conditions, instead of making hurried decisions, we decided to put the collection on standby,” he said.
Moses and the Marenzis joined forces in 1999, but both declined to disclose their respective company stakes. Aside from Claudio Marenzi, Herno, a high-end men’s and women’s manufacturer that also produces for top-tier designers, is managed by Massimo and Giorgio Marenzi, chairman and product manager, respectively.
Moses claims that she had originally sought a partner for financial and administrative support that would help raise brand and product awareness.
“Looking for backers is very delicate because it’s like a marriage. The only difference is that you can’t date,” she said.
But according to Marenzi, the divorce was pretty civil. “All the decisions were mutual because we wanted to make sure that things worked out for the better for both parties,” he said.
Moses’ line is carried in 150 doors worldwide and annual sales are about $5 million, according to Marenzi.
Moses, an expat who has been living in Italy since 1991, started her eponymous company in 1996 after a five-year consultancy for Genny under Donatella Girombelli.
“I want to design clothes that come from the heart and that reflect a lifestyle concept,” she said back then.
Over the years, the designer has hardly steered from her creed of fashion as a lifestyle concept that should make women look pretty and chic. This has translated into softly constructed cashmere knits and wovens, developed in as many as 35 colors each season, and fashioned with yarns from such resources as Loro Piana.
This spring, Moses embraced a new project: designing the collection for Pineider, the Florentine stationery maker founded more than 200 years ago.
In less than three months, Moses pulled together a 500-piece collection that ranged from silver vases and hand-painted flatware to wicker baskets and scented candles. She also conceived a new store concept to house Pineider’s new home collection.
“This project is an important part of my life, especially because I was involved in the retail scene, but I still love to design clothes,” Moses said.
Recent rumors were that Pineider might acquire the Marenzis stake in Moses’ line, but executives there could not be reached for comment.