Andrea Lieberman has sold a majority stake of her contemporary label A.L.C. to InterLuxe, an investment arm of Lee Equity Partners. WWD reported last year that the two companies were in talks, as Lieberman had been seeking investors and InterLuxe, which was established last year by chairman Gary Wassner of Hilldun, has been looking to build its portfolio of designer brands. The company took a controlling interest in Jason Wu last September.
This story first appeared in the August 19, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“I’ve put my heart and soul into this business, and I needed to get an education in the business and economics of it all,” said Lieberman, who had a career as a high-profile celebrity stylist (responsible for Jennifer Lopez’s infamous Versace dress at the 2000 Grammys) before launching A.L.C. in 2009. “I need to know that I covered the potential partners from A to Z. The partnership with InterLuxe felt right from a gut standpoint, and they offered what I needed — a strategic financial partnership.”
InterLuxe and Lieberman declined to disclose the specifics of the investment, but ceo Melissa Beste said she and her partners were attracted to A.L.C. because of its consistent growth without any official marketing. The line is carried at Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Intermix, Harvey Nichols, Harrods and Matchesfashion.com. “Today, the brand is 100 percent wholesale,” said Beste. “Part of our roadmap is establishing a marketing platform that will be very digitally based. Opening retail stores and an e-commerce launch are all on the short-term horizon.” She estimated retail and e-commerce to happen in 2017. There will also be management and infrastructure developments.
This is InterLuxe’s first contemporary brand, a category in which they clearly see potential. Beste said a plan is in place for Wu to launch a sister collection in the contemporary market next year. Part of the strategy for his brand included discontinuing shoes to focus on handbags and ready-to-wear. A.L.C. is mostly apparel-driven with a handbag collection, and there are no plans to pull back on categories.
Lieberman plans to remain in Los Angeles, where the company is based. “The most important change for me is that I have a real partner at the table who will allow me to focus on the creative, the marketing, the branding — everything in my area of expertise — and they’ll be able to take the business and infrastructure responsibilities off my plate, which will be helpful.”