“Our time at Vince, from its founding to the present, has encompassed some of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of our lives,” said Laccone. “As we leave the company we cofounded nearly 12 years ago, we are proud of the growth and stature that the company has achieved. We want to thank our very talented team that has contributed so much to the success of the company as well as our retail partners for their generous support all these years.”
Laccone and LaPolice sold Vince to Kellwood in 2006 for an undisclosed sum. Vince’s volume at the time was around $35 million. Today, the company generates $250 million. At the time of the acquisition, Kellwood was still a public company under the leadership of Robert C. Skinner. Sun took Kellwood private in 2008 for $762 million.
Laccone, chief executive officer, and LaPolice, president, are credited with building the hot contemporary brand whose key accounts are Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom. Founded in 2002, the company is known for its luxury sportswear at accessible prices.
LaPolice said their departure was something they had been contemplating for a long time. “It’s been in the works. It’s not a knee-jerk decision. We agreed to stay on for five years and stayed for almost seven,” said LaPolice.
LaPolice, who ran sales and marketing, and Laccone, who was responsible for design, merchandising and production, have a close working relationship. LaPolice was based in New York, and Laccone was headquartered in Los Angeles, but they spoke on the phone five out of eight hours every day. “We would finish each other’s sentences. It’s been an amazing collaboration. I’ve been fortunate to be inspired by my business partner every day,” said LaPolice.
Even though the brand is considering an IPO, Laccone said if they were to stay, which Kellwood had encouraged, then they’d “have to stay for a long time” and they didn’t want to commit to that. But, she added, “We’re on terrific terms with them.”
“We had an earn-out period for five years, and we surpassed every number we could have believed,” added LaPolice.
Laccone and LaPolice met while working at Laundry by Shelli Segal, prior to its sale to Liz Claiborne Inc. Laccone said they did well financially when they sold Vince to Kellwood and no longer have a stake in the business. “I was involved with the sale of Laundry to Liz Claiborne, and we did extremely well,” she said.
The executives said Kellwood is close to naming someone to succeed them.
Jill Granoff, ceo of Kellwood, said, “Rea’s and Christopher’s hard work and design vision have made Vince a market leader. Vince offers great product that resonates deeply with consumers. Rea brought a new sensibility to the market by creating a brand with incredible DNA, while Christopher’s strategies for developing the business positioned it for impressive growth. Over the past eight months, I’ve worked closely with them both to ensure a seamless transition. We are grateful for their many contributions, and I’m confident that we have the team in place to build upon Vince’s success and unlock its potential as a global lifestyle brand.” She declined further comment about plans for the brand.
Laccone and LaPolice said they don’t have plans to run another business at this time. “I hope we don’t,” said Laccone, who earlier spent 15 years at Laundry. “I’m going into the next phase. I would like to relax, fulfill some of the bucket list,” she said. For starters, Laccone and LaPolice are headed to Africa, along with Laccone’s partner, Paul Perla, senior vice president of merchandising, who’s also leaving Vince.
In addition to selling at Neiman’s, Saks and Nordstrom, Vince also sells at Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman and 500 independent specialty stores. Internationally, the brand is sold at stores such as Lane Crawford, Harvey Nichols and Harrods. The company has 19 full-price Vince boutiques in such locations as Manhattan, Malibu, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Boston, San Francisco and White Plains, N.Y., and plans to open more. Vince added men’s wear in 2007 and a denim line in 2010.
If Sun decides to do an IPO for Vince, sources said the private-equity firm would likely retain a controlling stake in Vince, allowing it to float a secondary public offering or two at a later date.
“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