Modern Amusement, the contemporary men’s and women’s label owned by Mossimo Giannulli, has shuttered its operations. The closure of the business comes on the heels of a severe restructuring of the company that saw the exit of its chief executive officer, Michael Boyes, and the layoff of most of its employees in November.
This story first appeared in the January 27, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The demise of the trendy brand, known by its crow logo, stemmed from what former employees of Modern Amusement alleged was mismanagement of the company by Boyes. Boyes inked a five-year master license agreement for the brand in December 2008 and set up a firm called Blk Brd LLC to operate the business. Giannulli is now embroiled in litigation with Boyes over his handling of the company.
In an e-mail to retailers obtained by WWD, Nicole Castrogiovanni, vice president of sales at Modern Amusement, wrote, “With regret, I am writing to inform you that Modern Amusement has ceased operations effective immediately. In light of prior management disputes, it is a difficult but necessary choice. Unfortunately, this is all the information we can provide at this time and we are unable to elaborate on all the details. This is deeply troubling for myself, Mossimo and the entire Modern Amusement family.”
The company is closing its Costa Mesa, Calif., headquarters. However, Castrogiovanni, a longtime Modern Amusement employee who is close to Giannulli, added the brand may be revived at a later date. “We know you and your consumers love the brand. We do too. We hope to reintroduce the Crow to consumers in the future and look forward to reengaging with you at that point,” she wrote.
The brand’s wholesale accounts, which include Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom and a slew of specialty stores, will not receive spring merchandise. “It’s one of our most popular men’s lines, so we’re not happy about it. It’s pretty short notice,” said Diana Oh, manager of Flying A, a boutique in New York’s SoHo district.
Giannulli and Castrogiovanni declined to provide further comment on the developments, due to the pending litigation with Boyes. Efforts to reach Boyes were not successful.
“The brand went from very positive to closing down pretty quickly. It’s unusual,” said Vince Gonzales, whose New York-based Encore Studio showroom represented Modern Amusement on the East Coast. “They told us they were shutting down right before a planned global sales conference on Jan. 10 with agents from overseas.” Those former Modern Amusement agents included Fancy Farmer Enterprises in the Netherlands, The Denim Garden in Sweden, A-Game Distribution in Austria and Marc & Betschmann in Switzerland.
Originally founded by Jeff Yokoyama, Modern Amusement was acquired by Giannulli in 2004. It was sold to Iconix Brand Group in 2006 as part of a $119 million deal for the Mossimo brand, but Giannulli bought back Modern Amusement for $4.8 million.