NEW YORK -- Robert Bernard, president of Liz Claiborne International, will join J. Crew Group as president and chief operating officer in two weeks.
Bernard succeeds Arnold Cohen, who left in July to join London Fog as chairman and chief executive officer.
Bernard, 43, will be a key player in J. Crew's overseas catalog and retail expansion, begun two years ago. He will report to Arthur Cinader, chairman of J. Crew, who oversees administrative and financial matters, and Emily Woods, vice chairman, the firm's design and creative force. Woods is Cinader's daughter. The family owns the company.
The Group includes J. Crew, Popular Club and Clifford & Wills catalogs and J. Crew Retail. The company said its 1993 volume was $700 million, with J. Crew accounting for about half that.
"Robert has a background that's very appropriate to J. Crew," said Robert Kerson of Levy & Kerson Associates, which handled the search for J. Crew's president. "He has significant sourcing and product development experience and is an energetic leader."
Just last week at a seminar at the National Retail Federation convention here, Bernard said Claiborne will expand its overseas business by 14 countries, adding to the current 28, and encouraged apparel retailers to investigate the potential of overseas growth.
He joined Claiborne in May 1985 as vice president of sportswear sales, and rose to president of Liz Claiborne Canada before being named to head the international division last year.
Prior to Claiborne, he was vice president of better sportswear for Macy's in San Francisco, where he worked for 10 years.
Claiborne has not yet named a successor to Bernard.
“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