NEW YORK — With Sarah Jessica Parker on her way out at Halston and Harvey Weinstein said to be following suit, what is next for this storied but challenged American fashion house?
Industry insiders were wondering just that after it emerged on Wednesday that Parker and Weinstein were about to end their association with Halston — marking yet another chapter in the brand’s checkered history that has been through more revival attempts and designers than most people care to remember.
In the most recent iteration, Hilco Consumer Capital and Weinstein Co. acquired the brand with much fanfare in 2007, and tapped Parker as president and chief creative officer in January 2010 to steer the secondary Halston Heritage line (Marios Schwab spearheads the main designer collection). Parker’s deal included a seat on Halston’s board as well as an equity stake in the brand, though the size of the stake was never disclosed.
The actress is said to be entitled to roughly $13 million over the next four years under her current agreement. At press time, it remained unclear whether Hilco was looking to buy out Weinstein and Parker. Richard Kaye, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Hilco Trading, Hilco Consumer Capital’s parent company, declined comment.
As reported in April, Hilco was looking for additional investment or to potentially sell Halston. According to one source, there were at least three bidders for the company including Max Azria, but Halston is now said to be pursuing a licensing model instead. The departure of Parker and Weinstein — both high-profile personalities with no experience in running a fashion licensing business — could clear the path for this.
The news of Parker’s exit from Halston Heritage first appeared in a feature on her in the August issue of Vogue.
The two high-profile departures spotlight the complicated realities of celebrities’ ongoing fascination with fashion and the common misperception that a fashionable Hollywood personality naturally makes a good designer or, in Parker’s case, a capable president of a fashion label set for revival.
Weinstein and Parker are just two of several executives who have joined and subsequently left Halston under the current ownership. Halston chief executive officer Bonnie Takhar also left the company and, recently, there has been some speculation that the firm may not renew its contract with Schwab unless he relocates from London, where he designs his own, namesake line, to New York, where Halston is based.
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