Lisa Kulson has resigned as women’s creative director of Theory, a post she has held since February 2014, WWD has learned.
Kulson joined Theory in 1997 as head designer and left in 2002 to create her own namesake line. She returned to Theory in 2012 as a consultant, and assumed her current role two years later. She took over responsibilities following the departure of Olivier Theyskens, who had been the brand’s artistic director.
Theory said Kulson is leaving to pursue other creative projects.
Known for her modern women’s collections, Kulson’s style has always reflected her love of travel and luxury, attention to details and technical skills.
Andrew Rosen, Theory’s chief executive officer and founder, expressed his “sincere gratitude and respect to Lisa for her commitment to the company and its evolution into a leading force in the marketplace. She is a true talent, and has a great eye. Lisa and I have worked closely together for many years, and she will always be a part of the Theory family.”
Rosen began working with Kulson when Theory launched its second collection. Asked to describe her aesthetic, he said she designs clothing with a modern sensibility. “She’s great with fits and fabrics and has a great eye stylistically. Her ability to fit the clothes has been her trademark,” he said. In recent seasons, Kulson added a new dimension, using color in a different way than Theory had before. For spring, for example, Kulson paired a burnt sienna jacket worn with a mint A-line mini and a mint suede coat paired with a maroon knit and blush pink shorts.
“In thinking about my desire to move on, this seemed a good moment, coming upon the close of a year of positive momentum and growth,” said Kulson. “I thank Andrew and everyone at Theory for their support and confidence in me from the outset. The opportunity to create product with such integrity has been one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of my career thus far. I will always have a deep affection for the brand.”
Born in Michigan, Kulson studied business at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and design at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. She cut her teeth at Fenn Wright Manson, where she was design director for private-label accounts such as The Limited and Express, before joining Theory.
Despite the challenging retail environment, Rosen called Theory’s business “very good.”
“I’m very happy with where we are,” he said, noting noted that Kulson’s successor hasn’t been named yet.