Vivian Chou’s company Bright Fame Fashion has acquired a controlling interest in Thakoon Corp. for an undisclosed sum.
This confirms a report that appeared in WWD last March that Chou was in discussions with Thakoon Panichgul.
As part of the deal, Panichgul will continue in his role as chief creative officer of the brand he founded, and Maria Borromeo will remain chief executive officer of Thakoon USA. Specifics regarding the global designer business and management plans will be released at a later date.
“Our partnership with Thakoon comes at a time when the brand’s foundation is strong, our collective vision is clear and the industry is incredibly dynamic. The cultural conversation is increasingly provocative and accepting of change, new ideas and channels. What comes next will be an evolution, and a total embrace of innovation for the Thakoon brand,” said Chou in a statement.
Chou, Thakoon and Borromeo were not reachable for further comment Thursday.
As WWD first reported last March, Bright Fame Fashion’s strategy is to develop a collection of show now, see now, buy now and wear now — freeing the designer from the traditional fashion calendar. It is understood the Thakoon brand will remain at the same designer level as the current collection. E-commerce is expected to be an element, but there will be an omnichannel approach.
In an interview with WWD last March with Vivian, Veronica and Silas Chou about this potential business opportunity for the family, Veronica Chou said, “What we’re trying to do is a bit disruptive to the industry. In fashion tech, already there are people who are making money in e-commerce. It’s definitely a huge market and a huge opportunity. It’s where the world is going.”
Bright Fame Fashion is a family investment vehicle led by Vivian Chou, who it is understood is spearheading the Thakoon investment. This is Bright Fame Fashion’s first acquisition. Chou is the daughter of Hong Kong mogul Silas Chou, ceo of Novel Holdings, and a former investor in Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors.
Investment bank Ohana & Co. acted as exclusive financial advisor to Thakoon and its shareholders.
Vivian Chou reportedly cast a wide net and spoke to many designers before zeroing in on Thakoon Corp.
Panichgul was born in Thailand, raised in Omaha and graduated from Boston University. He spent four years as a writer and editor at Harper’s Bazaar before enrolling in The New School’s Parsons of Design. He presented his first ready-to-wear collection in New York in September 2004. In 2006, Thakoon was one of three recipients of the Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund and was nominated by the CFDA for the Swarovski Award for Best Emerging Womenswear Designer.
Thakoon has developed a cult following for its romantic, feminine designs, which have been worn by first lady Michelle Obama, who donned a Thakoon floral dress on the evening President Obama accepted the 2008 Democratic nomination. Panichgul also designed a limited-edition clothing line at Target in 2009. This fall, Thakoon was selected to be the seventh designer in Kohl’s Department Store’s DesigNation limited-edition collection. Inspired by London, he put a British spin on his signature feminine-tomboy style. Classic men’s wear shirting, mash-ups of English rose prints, check and plaids, and three-dimensional knits were part of the offerings.
In 2011, Thakoon introduced a spin-off of his designer collection called Addition, which has a younger, sportier attitude.