Zandra Rhodes and Betsey Johnson: Fashion grannies rock on

Two legendary doyennes of the fashion world have been making news this week -- and not just for their colourful fashions. Today, Betsey Johnson announced a majority investment in her business from Boston's Castanea Partners. Some observers are questioning Castanea's logic for investing in a 30 year old brand whose namesake is already a grandmother and whose high-profile days are long over.  On the contrary, the business  has a solid own-retail network of 51 stores and a respectable $200m in sales. This could provide a great platform for further growth, as long as Castanea doesn't dilute the brand's famous quirky irreverence, which is what is most appealing to its loyal fans. Earlier this week British fashion icon, Zandra Rhodes, garnered…

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Bill Blass: The Peter Som and Michael Bastian tag team

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…

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Narcisco and Liz: A match made in heaven?

Narciso Rogriguez, designer of Caroline Bessette Kennedy's wedding dress, and Liz Claiborne, the purveyor of everything from Juicy Couture tracksuits to Lucky jeans, announced today that Liz Claiborne Inc has taken a 50% stake in Mr Rodriguez's namesake label. Of late, we haven't seen that many large fashion conglomerates take an interest in growing small high-end businesses. This particular partnership is also of interest because on the surface, there does not seem to be a natural match between Narcisco's target market of luxury customers (who buy his collection at Neiman Marcus, Saks, Bergdorf Goodman and Barney's) and Liz's connections and expertise with lower priced Contemporary and Bridge labels (which are distributed much more broadly in stores like Bloomingdales, Macy's and…

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The Basics | Part 2 – What is a Business Plan For and How do I Go About Writing It?

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The term “business plan” is casually bandied about like a hot potato in the studios of emerging fashion designers. Everyone knows you need one, but still, so few emerging design businesses take the time upfront to properly plan for their success. I use these words intentionally. Success is very rarely accidental. Sure, we all benefit from some good luck from time to time, but real success can only come through hard work

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Book Review: Boo Hoo by Ernst Malmsten

It seems like forever since those heady, spirited days of the dot.com boom. There was no 9/11, no War in Iraq, no "Axis of Evil". Instead there was champagne was flowing freely, the NASDAQ, FTSE and DOW soaring to new heights, and millionaires (at least on paper) were being created overnight. Wanting to relive that spirited time and on recommendation of my friends Matthias and Abi, I recently finished reading "boo hoo", the story of boo.com, one of Europe's most high profile Internet stories of spectacular boom and heartwrenching bust. boo.com was set up in London by 3 Swedes -- Ernst Malmsten, Kasja Leander and Patrik Hedelin in 1998. Malmsten and Leander, the real visionaries behind the business, had previous…

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Giles Deacon: From Daks to?

Vanessa Friedman has written an insightful article on the career of Giles Deacon, one of London's most celebrated emerging designers -- though, the 'emerging' title can't be his for much longer, especially now that he has been appointed Creative Director of the British fashion house, DAKS. As I suggested in a previous post, I still wonder whether Giles' destiny is actually to become Creative Director for a Parisian fashion house of international renown. (Suzy Menkes asserted the same point this week in her glowing review of Giles show yesterday in the IHT). It would not be hard to fathom that DAKS is yet another stepping stone in a career that has seen Giles go from Bottega Veneta to Gucci and…

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The Business of Fashion: Basics

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Over the coming months, in addition to our regular musings on the Business of Fashion (as well as a few creative diversions  and digressions on new collections, hot fashion news, and industry analysis), The Business of Fashion will introduce a regular series of articles on setting up a new fashion business, and what it takes to be successful both creatively and financially in this competitive space.  We’ll call it “The

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Another round for Jimmy Choo

Big news in fashion investment circles over the weekend has been the sale of Jimmy Choo to Towerbrook Partners, a private equity firm that has bought out the state owned by Lion Capital. Here is an article from the Financial Times announcing the deal. More thoughts on this later. Jimmy Choo sells for £185mBy Peter Smith,Private Equity Correspondent Published: February 3 2007 02:00 | Last updated: February 3 2007 02:00 Jimmy Choo, the fashionistas' favourite shoemaker, has been sold by its private equity owner Lion Capital in a deal worth £185m. The sale will result in a gain of close to £25m for Tamara Mellon, the company president and joint founder who owns just over 15 per cent, although she…

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