KEMPER REPORTEDLY HAS FINANCIAL WOES
Byline: David Moin
NEW YORK — Amid reports of personal financial troubles, designer Randy Kemper is apparently no longer designing at RK Studio, the company licensed to produce a collection under Kemper’s name.
“With or without Randy, our plans are to keep shipping spring, move forward with fall and keep the same design team,” said Bernard Wachter, president of RK Studio.
“As for Randy, I don’t know his plans. We have a design team with or without him,” Wachter emphasized.
Kemper did not have a contract at RK Studio but was reportedly paid for his services, including designing and trunk shows.
RK Studio has no association with Randy Kemper Corp., a company that was formed by Kemper, his sister Lynne, and a South African investor. Sources said Randy Kemper Corp. has fallen behind in payments owed to the trade.
Ironically, Kemper’s difficulties come at a time when the collection produced under his name by RK Studio was starting to show promise and direction. Last fall, the line was relaunched under the merchandising and styling guidance of Joseph Cicio. Cicio has since become president of retail development for Donna Karan International Inc. and had been chief executive officer of the former I. Magnin chain.
For the five months ending Dec. 31, RK Studio shipped a quantity of merchandise valued at $6 million at retail. Among the stores that picked up items from the line for the first time were Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Mitsukoshi in Japan.
“There was a niche opening there that we filled, a level between bridge and designer, or at the starting price points of designer,” Wachter said. “It was a great launch.”
At retail, jackets are priced at $500 to $600; leather jackets, $800 to $900; pants, $300, and blouses, $300.
Reportedly, Kemper’s role at RK Studio recently was shrinking, and he was frequently in Italy on a project with a textile company there, though he was in New York last week. He could not be reached for comment.
Wachter is also a director at Apparel Design & Development, which he said purchased the Kemper trade name from Congress Talcott, a factoring company, in June 1996 through a public auction. AD&D is involved in licensing and manufacturing private label.