NEW YORK — Max Wilson, who joined Sean John in August as vice president of design for women’s apparel, has left the company.
Wilson couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday, but sources close to Sean John said he resigned to tend to his father whose health is ailing.
A company spokesman said the departure was cordial and mutually respected. Wilson’s last day was Friday. Jenny La Fata is reported to be Wilson’s replacement, but the spokesman declined comment. La Fata was most recently the designer of LaROK, a contemporary line owned by Koral Industries that launched in May. A spokeswoman for Koral said La Fata left the company roughly a week ago. Jane Siskin, chief executive officer of Koral, said, “Jenny is a very talented designer and we wish her the best of luck.”
Wilson’s departure comes just months before the much-anticipated launch of the Sean John women’s collection. Originally slated for a fall 2005 introduction, the collection had been postponed and is now scheduled to hit stores for holiday 2005. Sean John, founded in 1998, has a $450 million volume at retail.
The company has kicked the women’s launch into high gear. In December, Wendy Chivian was hired as senior vice president and general manager of Sean John women’s wear, reporting to Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, president and ceo. Chivian, who couldn’t be reached for comment, is responsible for all aspects of the women’s collection. Erica Kue continues as creative director of women’s wear. The women’s line is reportedly expected to generate between $45 million and $60 million in wholesale volume in its first year.
Prior to joining Sean John, Wilson designed the women’s designer collection at Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. for 11 years, beginning as an associate designer in 1993. In 1997, he was promoted to vice president, succeeding Maggie Norris who left to launch her own collection. Earlier, Wilson was a designer for the Calvin Klein’s women’s collection.
In February, Jeffrey Tweedy left his post as executive vice president of sales and marketing.