LOS ANGELES — Moshe Tsabag, the apparel veteran who built juniors label Hot Kiss into a $100 million business, has moved on to the young contemporary sector.
After selling Hot Kiss for more than $20 million to Bluestar Alliance in 2008, Tsabag is ramping up his year-old Los Angeles-based label Velvet Heart with a slew of licenses intended to help double sales to $10 million this year from $5 million in 2009. He also wants to increase the number of stores that sell Velvet Heart to 600 by yearend from more than 350, including Nordstrom, Metropark, Anthropologie and Fred Segal.
Velvet Heart has signed a licensing deal with New York-based Comint Apparel Group to produce outerwear for fall. It’s pursuing licenses for handbags, swimwear and shoes.
“We are really aiming high with this line,” Tsabag said.
The young contemporary sector has thrived in the economic downturn because of its affordable prices mixed with better styling. Aryn K., BB Dakota, MM Couture by Miss Me and Tulle are among the young contemporary labels that have gained momentum at retail.
Compared to his previous juniors lines, Hot Kiss and YES Clothing Co., Tsabag wants to maintain higher-quality fabrics such as silk and leather and incorporate embroidery, studs, grommets, appliqués, crochet and other intricate details in Velvet Heart. The line’s tank tops, rompers, silk shirts and dresses all retail for less than $100.
Joe Pham, who designed his former contemporary line, Jak & Rae, which closed in 2007, has been recruited to Velvet Heart. Tsabag and Pham plan to add tribal animal prints, plaids, sweaters, washed leggings, skirts and jackets to the fall lineup.
“I used to have a contemporary division and I always loved it,” Tsabag said. “I had a good feeling about contemporary and it’s a bit more stable than juniors.…Because of the unique economic climate, the contemporary business was really changing. Rather than buying the product at Neiman Marcus for $300, the customer can get ours for $87.”
“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