HONG KONG — Vivian Chou, who bought a controlling stake in Thakoon Corp. last year, is preparing to relaunch the business as a see-now-buy-now proposition with a SoHo flagship and a New York runway show slated for September.
Chou is planning to position the label, designed and founded by Thai-born Thakoon Panichgul, as a high-end sportswear brand sold exclusively through the New York flagship and its directly operated e-commerce site, said a person familiar with the company’s strategic plan, who requested anonymity. Accessories and limited-edition products are expected to figure in the merchandising mix.
Spokesmen for the Chou-backed venture with Thakoon did not respond to requests for comment.
Chou is the daughter of Hong Kong mogul Silas Chou, chief executive officer of the family business Novel Holdings, and former investor in Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors. It is understood that Vivian Chou is looking to replicate her father’s success with those two businesses and is gunning to make Thakoon a mega-brand with the potential for an eventual initial public offering.
The brand, headquartered in Hong Kong, has been building its team since last year and has made several hires in recent months. The company is drawing heavily from the locally based talent pool, poaching from companies like Ralph Lauren and Lane Crawford.
Lucy Yi stepped in as the brand’s president in September following the Chou acquisition, according to her LinkedIn profile. Most recently she was working at Ralph Lauren Asia Pacific as the region’s senior vice president and managing director for digital and e-commerce. Jisso Hong was tapped as creative director last month after working past stints at Men’s Health and Saatchi & Saatchi, according to her LinkedIn profile. As reported, Panichgul’s longtime business partner Maria Borromeo has stayed on as ceo of Thakoon USA.
The brand is still rounding out its team. The company has job postings on LinkedIn for a public relations director, a performance marketing manager and a software manager.
Chou’s company Bright Fame Fashion bought a controlling interest in Thakoon Corp. in December for an undisclosed sum. Panichgul took a break from the runway in February so the last Thakoon collection he showed was spring-summer 2016 in September 2015.
Thakoon is the latest brand to jump on the controversial see-now-buy-now bandwagon, which is sparking industry debate over the relevance of the current fashion week system and seasonal calendar. He joins the ranks of a growing list of brands adopting the strategy, including Burberry, Tom Ford, Rebecca Minkoff and Vetements.
Panichgul presented his first ready-to-wear collection in New York in September 2004. In 2006, he was one of three recipients of the Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund and was nominated by the Council of Fashion Designers of America for the Swarovski Award for Best Emerging Womenswear Designer. Panichgul has developed a cult following for his romantic, feminine designs. First Lady Michelle Obama wore a Thakoon floral dress on the evening President Obama accepted the 2008 Democratic nomination. Panichgul has also designed lines for Target and Kohl’s as well as jewelry for Japanese pearl merchant Tasaki.