After almost three decades of designing her eponymous lingerie line, Flora Nikrooz is leaving her business.
“My husband and I aren’t getting any younger,” said Nikrooz, who called the split amicable. “It was time to move on and try something new.”
The business will still be operated by Essential Brands, which is owned by Richie Adjmi who recently broke off from manufacturing company Age Group Ltd., which acquired Nikrooz’s line in 2003.
While Adjmi is focused on moving the brand beyond bridal — he has hired intimate apparel designer Janey Leong to help steer the effort — Nikrooz is interested in a new category entirely: men’s loungewear.
“Once I left, I asked myself ‘If I had to do something new, what would I do?’” Nikrooz told WWD. “The only market that’s still open to ideas and absorbing new concepts is men’s wear. Millennial men are looking for something new and loungewear is a good place to experiment. But my soul is still with women’s lingerie and I don’t plan on abandoning that category.”
Nikrooz said British fashion designer Michael Fish, who dressed musicians including Mick Jagger and David Bowie during the Sixties and Seventies, will be the inspiration for the line.
“We aren’t going to get that dramatic, but we will be out of the box,” said Nikrooz, who is going to start working on samples for the collection.
Nikrooz likened the feeling she has about this new venture to the way she felt when she first launched her line at 29. Nikrooz, who is from Iran, came to the U.S. at age 17 and later enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She was a dress designer before she noticed a void in the intimate apparel market and created 12 lingerie samples. Eventually her husband Marvin Backer quit his job to help her run the business.
In 1982, Nikrooz’s Frou Frou design gained attention from the fashion industry and landed on the cover of the Victoria’s Secret catalog, which lead to the business making $1 million in its first year.
“It was a concept and it was new,” Nikrooz said. “And that’s what America is all about.”
Nikrooz spent 13 years working with Age Group Ltd., and said her experience there was ideal.
“I couldn’t have worked with better people,” she said. “You hear horror stories about what happens when designers sell their line and my experience wasn’t like that at all.”