STEINBRUCK TO SHUT DOWN, WEIGH OFFERS
Byline: Leonard McCants
NEW YORK — Eveningwear designer Thomas Steinbruck will shutter his namesake signature collection effective Aug. 1, while he weighs an offer from a group of German investors to relaunch his line or place him at another design house.
Steinbruck, whose three-year-old company was sold in about 30 doors in the U.S., including Nordstrom and Bergdorf Goodman, as well as retailers in Europe and Asia, had a volume of about $2 million last year. Steinbruck will not produce a fall collection.
Like many designers who don’t have a financial backer, money was the most significant issue for Steinbruck, who financed the endeavor himself. Plus, as the price for growing his business escalated — he estimated it required at least $7 million to expand over the next four years — the need for other investors became more important, he said.
Meanwhile, the German investment group, which includes Peter Littman, former chairman and chief executive officer of Joop and Hugo Boss, Steinbruck said, thought his current line of sportswear-influenced eveningwear was too grounded in American tastes and would not be as well received in Europe. The two groups determined that shutting the New York-based collection in favor of a European-based line with a New York presence would be the best idea, Steinbruck said.
“It’s a good thing,” he added. “I don’t see it as a negative. I want to be in a well- financed environment.”
Once the deal is done, the new venture would have a more casual bent and be more sportswear oriented than his current collection. He anticipated any new line would not retail before the spring 2003 season.
Steinbruck will also continue his consultancy with BMW, who financed his fall 2001 presentation in February.
“That excites me the most,” said Steinbruck, as he left Wednesday for a meeting with BMW executives in Munich set for later this week. “I want to go into something else where I can do more than just fashion, where I can get my hands in other areas.”