As reported, Taylor, 49, has been living abroad for the past year with her family, working remotely from Paris and consulting with her team on design and creative aspects of the brand.
“After much soul-searching, I have decided I will not be resuming my position as creative director of Rebecca Taylor,” said Taylor. “I am extremely proud of the many successes achieved since founding the brand with my then business partner, Beth Bugdaycay. I have tremendous pride in the company I have built, and I have loved every minute of my professional and creative journey helping women feel fantastic. My travels this past year have convinced me, though, that it is time to expand my reach and explore new creative projects that will push my potential as a designer in new ways.”
She and Bugdaycay founded Rebecca Taylor in 1996, and grew it into an established contemporary label. Taylor built a loyal following for her feminine, floral printed and vintage-inspired fashion. The brand was acquired by Kellwood Co. and Sun Capital in 2011. Bugdaycay left her role as chief executive officer in 2015 and launched Foundrae, a fine jewelry company.
Janice Sullivan, brand president, said, “Rebecca has been a remarkable partner over the past four years. I admire her unique talent, dedication and artistic vision immensely. It is what has driven the growth of the brand. I feel honored to have worked with her closely and look forward to building on her legacy. I believe in the talented team that Rebecca has built, and I am confident they will continue to drive the brand forward while honoring Rebecca’s DNA.”
Taylor, who was reached in Granada, Spain, elaborated on what prompted her to resign from her position.
“I’m having the summer of my life,” said the designer, who’s been living abroad for the past year with her husband, 12-year-old twin daughters and 10-year-old son. After traveling throughout Europe this summer, they plan to return to Brooklyn on Aug. 19. “It’s been an incredible journey the last year,” she said, with visits to Italy, Croatia and Greece, among other places.
Taylor cited several reasons for stepping down.
“I’ve been in this industry for 25 years and counting,” she said. She said she once read a quote by Isabel Marant, who said fashion is a marathon, run as a sprint. “I just thought it was time to jog for a while or even go on an electric scooter, to slow the whole thing down. I love fashion and I will always love Rebecca Taylor and am in close contact with everybody there. I have never felt more energized about being creative. I’ve had so many ideas. I just feel like I’m recharging my batteries,” she said.
Asked if things changed since Sun Capital bought the company, Taylor, who will no longer have the rights to her name, said, “I’ve always worked like it was my business. I’ve always worked heart and soul and felt so passionate about the brand. The last four years with Janice have been really wonderful. We’ve had a really good run. There’s no extenuating circumstances. It’s time to see what’s next.”
Taylor said she’s not sure what she’ll do going forward. “I have so many different interests and ideas. I love clothing, but I love design in general, whether it be jewelry, perfume or textiles,” she said. Taylor doesn’t see having a brand that makes one particular category that enticing. “It’s more about a lifestyle, a more edited selection of what women really need. Women want to feel great and cool and sophisticated,” she said. During her tenure, the brand expanded into the casual zone with La Vie, a collection of denim, Ts, tops and dresses.
“Beth and I built a wonderful company together. Women always responded to Rebecca Taylor,” said Taylor, who spent five years at Cynthia Rowley before launching her own label. Taylor’s designs earned her a nomination for the CFDA’s Perry Ellis Designer Award in 2000.
Taylor’s business has been busy on several fronts. Last fall, the brand launched Rebecca Taylor Rntd., a clothing subscription service, and this year introduced Tailored Rebecca Taylor, an elevated collection of suiting and separates. The company also partnered with The Surf Lodge, the hotel and restaurant, in Montauk, N.Y., to outfit the front of house staff for the 2019 season.
Discussing the current state of business, Sullivan, who plans to name a new creative director, said, “Current business is strong. We had a really nice spring/summer season.” She noted there was “a terrific pick-up” after a little rough period in February and March, which many vendors experienced. Taylor’s direct-to-consumer business is showing strong comps. Year-to-date, traffic is up 27 percent, and store sales are up 18 percent in their six freestanding U.S. stores. She also noted that the company’s La Vie casual collection, which has been exclusive to Nordstrom for the past two years, has been expanded to Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue. The Tailored Rebecca Taylor line, which is an exclusive to Nordstrom and online, had a “really successful launch,” she said. “Our fall looks really strong,” she said, noting that the rental subscription service exceeded expectations for the half.
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