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NEW YORK — Beyoncé Knowles’ House of Deréon is changing direction.
An overhaul is now underfoot less than two years after LF USA, a division of Li & Fung, acquired Beyond Productions LLC, the apparel and accessories company led by Beyoncé and her mother, Tina Knowles. Beyond Productions chief executive officer Philip Davis exited the company more than six weeks ago and many of the company’s other 15 or so employees are said to have received pink slips.
Rick Darling, president of LF USA, said, “House of Deréon has been distributed exclusively in Europe for the past two years in department and specialty stores. As part of our growing contemporary business, we are repositioning the brand in the United States. Additionally, we are continuing our successful Miss Tina business.”
Li & Fung executives declined further comment.
Calls to the House of Deréon’s offices in Midtown Manhattan were not answered and Beyoncé’s agent did not respond to an e-mail request for comment. Davis could not be reached for comment at press time.
Retail sales of the brand have slipped considerably from their peak of $100 million, according to a source familiar with the current situation. At one point, the House of Deréon and Deréon labels were carried at Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s, but after that business faltered it was sold to more mass accounts like Burlington Coat Factory, the source said.
When acquired by LF USA, Beyond Productions’ brands included House of Deréon, Deréon, Curvelicious and Miss Tina. At that time, LF USA signed an endorsement deal with Beyoncé for House of Deréon and Deréon.
The singer-songwriter was known to mention her clothing label in such songs as “Get Me Bodied” and “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).” As that latter title suggests, she has changed her priorities over the years, marrying Jay-Z in 2008, giving birth to their daughter, Blue Ivy, in January and last month acting as an ambassador for World Humanitarian Day.
The Miss Tina sportswear and dresses collection, which was initially sold on HSN, is now available in 400-plus Wal-Mart stores and is known to be the strong suit in the company’s hand. The elder Knowles, who used to sew her daughter’s costumes during her Destiny’s Child days, was said to be in the company’s Midtown office on a regular basis. Visitors there would find images of the mother-and-daughter team from a House of Deréon ad campaign, as well as paintings done by Beyoncé.
Beyond Productions was established in 2004 by the Knowleses, with Jason and Arthur Rabin and Cory Silverstein of Wear Me Apparel/Kids Headquarters, which is based in New York. Under its various monikers, Beyond Productions’ lines span ready-to-wear, casual sportswear, denim, outerwear, handbags, footwear and other accessories.
In 2006, Beyoncé and her sister, Solange Knowles, launched the less expensive junior line Deréon with the tag line, “Where the sidewalk and catwalk meet.”
In an interview with WWD last year, Darling said that LF USA first became acquainted with Beyond Productions through its 2009 acquisition of Kids Headquarters. At that time, the plan was to make the House of Deréon’s various labels more global.