Michael Boris, who for 35 years has been quietly designing easy, luxurious sportswear for private clients and a few specialty stores, is looking to shake things up.
The designer had a short-lived partnership with Kellwood Co., but they parted ways last year following the departure of Kellwood chief executive officer Michael Kramer. Since then Boris has been building the business on his own, hoping to broaden his distribution with better specialty stores.
“This was the year I thought I’d push myself even more. I believe it’s a product more people would like to wear. I’m taking small steps to make that happen,” said Boris from his sun-filled atelier in Manhattan’s Gramercy Park neighborhood.
In addition to his made-to-order business for private clients, Boris sells Wilkes Bashford and Mitchells and does trunk shows several times a year at Neiman Marcus. The designer produces his entire collection in his workroom on West 38th Street in New York.
Boris harbors no ill feelings about his nine-month partnership with Kellwood. “It was best that we parted friends. Mike [Kramer] had great ideas for my brand, such as launching a secondary line. Now I can do it on my own,” said Boris. The Kellwood partnership was forged to help Boris expand through freestanding stores; additional wholesale accounts, domestically and abroad, and e-commerce. While he’s striking out on his own, he hasn’t ruled out taking on a new investor.
Boris’ designer collection runs the gamut from sportswear to eveningwear. “My eveningwear tends to be sporty,” said Boris. Many of his pieces are hand-embroidered, beaded and hand-stitched. For fall his collection features 23 looks, ranging from double-faced cashmere pullovers, gray windowpane cashmere wide-leg pants and cashmere jackets with silver fox trim to double-faced cashmere long sheath dresses and oversize cashmere coats and hand-embroidered beaded pants. “I obsess over beautiful workmanship,” said Boris. Styles wholesale from $490 to $6,000.
For spring 2014, Boris plans to launch a secondary line called Gypsy from Po’Keepsie. That line will wholesale from $75 to $300 and will be a little younger than his namesake collection. “It will reflect the hippie, fun side of me. There will be more mixing and matching of prints and fabrics,” he said. He plans to manufacture the collection in the U.S. “There’s enough that you can get done here if you have the right workers. I prefer to have things done here,” said Boris.
A graduate of Traphagen School of Fashion, Boris at one point had three stores in Rhinebeck, N.Y., including a multibrand boutique with other designers, a home-furnishings location and a Collection unit, as well as a store in nearby Poughkeepsie. Boris also had a store at 242 West 10th Street in New York that closed last year and continues to operate a store at 1051 Bush Street in San Francisco. He plans to open another store on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Over the years Boris has dressed such women as Patti LaBelle and Brooke Shields.
Boris plans to show his collection to retailers on April 9.
While Boris declined to reveal how much volume he does, he said, “I’m pretty happy with where we are. I’d like to push it to the next level.”
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion