Vince Holding Corp. has brought back its founders Rea Laccone and Christopher LaPolice under a two-year consulting pact, WWD has learned. Laccone and LaPolice will oversee Vince’s product, merchandising and creative efforts.
“Rea and Christopher, who created the original vision for Vince 13 years ago, bring tremendous creative talent to the brand,” said Brendan Hoffman, chief executive officer. “We look forward to drawing upon their design and merchandising expertise to enhance our product offering. While product is our first priority, we are also working to develop a strong foundation from which we can drive consistent profitable growth for the long term.”
“Christopher and I are excited to be returning to Vince as this is a brand with tremendous long-term potential,” Laccone said. “We believe that customers have looked to Vince for everyday luxury essentials with modern, effortless style and we will work with the team to deliver product that reflects this aesthetic.”
Laccone and LaPolice founded the brand in Los Angeles in 2002 and left the company in January 2013.
Vince sells women’s, men’s and children’s apparel, women’s and men’s footwear, and handbags. Vince products are sold in more than 2,500 retail doors in 44 countries, operates 34 full-price stores, 12 outlets and an e-commerce site. The contemporary brand is based in New York and has a design studio in Los Angeles.
Vince has been plagued by product issues, stock price declines, and executive turnover, but named Hoffman as ceo last month to turn around the company. Hoffman succeeded Mark Brody who was interim ceo since July when Jill Granoff departed from the brand. In July, Vince hired a senior vice president of merchandising, Livai Lee, and the company continues to search for a chief financial officer. When he was hired, Hoffman acknowledged that the priority is getting the product right for the brand.
“I’ve known Christopher for a long time, and I’ve gotten to know Rea over the last month. No one understands what Vince should be better than the two of them,” Hoffman told WWD. “They are working on fall.” Hoffman said, noting that the first collection reflecting their efforts will be delivered to stores in early August.”
Vince founders Laccone and LaPolice sold Vince to Kellwood in 2006 and stayed with Vince for seven years, two years more than they originally expected. Laccone and LaPolice met while working at Laundry by Shelli Segal.
After Kellwood was sold to Sun Capital in 2008, Vince went public in 2013.