A couple of weeks ago in New York I caught up with Elana Posner, President of Peter Som, over lunch. Amongst a flurry of topics, we touched (briefly) upon the gossipy item in WWD on July 6th which leaked the news that Peter was soon to be appointed as the new womenswear designer for Bill Blass, owned by NexCen brands.
What I didn’t know at the time was that Michael Bastian would be designing the men’s collection. So, I was excited to hear the news confirmed today, not only because it could finally be discussed on The Business of Fashion, but also because these are inspired choices made in part by NexCen. What a pleasant surprise! It’s been a good week for Bastian as he was also confirmed as one of the finalists for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.
A few months ago, Peter and I were speakers on "The Future of Luxury" panel at the HBS Retail and Luxury Goods conference. That same day, I also attended a panel on Private Equity in the retail and fashion space, where Craig Hoffman spoke eloquently about NexCen’s approach for investing in consumer brands. He asserted that while most private equity investors aim to use operational and financial re-engineering to create value, NexCen’s approach is focused on using an asset-light model of investing with a focus on brand management as opposed to operations.
Through its choices for these plum roles, NexCen has demonstrated its creativity-led way of driving new energy into the stalwart American brand. Peter, who began his career at Bill Blass is coming back full-circle to a brand he knows and understands — they really couldn’t have made a better selection. And, Michael Bastian, the former men’s fashion director of Bergdorf Goodman, is not only one of the hottest names in American menswear, he also understands how to build a wholesale business through department stores, the key channel for the Bill Blass menswear line.
Finally, an investment company that seems to know what they are doing in fashion — or at least, trusts those that do to make the right choices.
Photos courtesy of Peter Som Inc.