Emanuel Unagro isn't the only brand that had a bad 2011. Just about every one of Halston's key players left the company last year but things started to look optimistic when former BCBG president Ben Malka was brought on board to help turn the brand around.
So far things are going really well. It's no secret that the brand had serious money concerns so Malka provided a much needed $20 million cash infusion to get the company back on track. “We are very well-funded, so I don’t have to worry about that," he told WWD. "The money was put in by myself and my partners in a big way.” Aside from the money, it's his wealth of experience in the women's wear market that is working. According to the brand, an current increase in sales across retailers means that they will bring back the Halston runway show for fall 2013.
With the Max Azria brand not having a runway show this season, all eyes were on Max and Lubov Azria's offerings for BCBG yesterday. This season they continued their emphasis on the dress showing just about every variation on the summer staple that you can think of. Styles range from A-line volumous looks with cut outs on the shoulder, which is something we've seen a lot of already this week, as well as drop waist versions with deep V necks and prints along the front.
Although the collection was full of soft chiffons and soft shapes, the Azria's managed to avoid making it too feminine. The printed panels along the front of dresses and the mixture of tribal-like prints and bold graphic colours helped add something extra and signaled a strong movement away from their recent penchant for all things minimalist.
In today's digital age it's hard to find a brand that doesn't have a social media presence. Burberry continue to pioneer with all things live streaming and DKNY and Oscar de la Renta are well known for their Twitter accounts but Vera Wang is leading the pack in the Facebook stakes. According to data compiled by Stylophane, the brand updates their page more than any other and has 136 updates in May alone. BCBG came second with 111 times and Dolce & Gabbana coming third with 81.
Despite what George Osborne may have us believe, the economy both in the UK and beyond is still in a precarious situation and the retail industry even more so. The last six months has seen mega brands like Christian Lacroix, D&G, American Apparel, Gap, BCBG and Gianfranco Ferré all hit by financial woes. So with that in mind, you wouldn't expect new brands to attempt to emerge in such volatile waters would you? But that's exactly what LUCZA founder and designer, Karen Scofield did.
But don't worry - Scofield knows exactly what she is doing. She has managed to create a brand that will actually thrive in the downtime as women become more scrupulous about what their money is spent on."Coming home from work I just wanted to take of my heels, tights and skirt but not look like I was ready for bed. I also found that other women felt the same. We all wanted to change into something relaxed and easy yet still look great," she explained. And there you have it in a nutshell. The brand is all about simple, classic pieces that will see your from season to season and are as appropriate to pick the kids up from school or doing yoga as they are to work from home of attend a work event in the evening.
Having met up with the designer recently in light of the brand's e-commerce launch to talk about the brand and why she felt it was the right time to launch, if felt like a lightbulb moment. Why has the 'luxury' side of the loungewear market remained relatively untouched? In today's climate women are looking for clothes that work hard for them are the solution to all of their wardrobe needs due to their demanding lifestyles and that's exactly what Karen has catered for. While at first glance the pieces may seem basic and simplistic, it's only once you've began to play with the collection you realise that that is exactly where there strength lies. "You can mix and match" and it's all about accessorising, Scofield explained as she showed me through the collection.
It's been a hard couple of years for brands. Constantly we are told of more brands that are feeling the pinch in these trying times with Christian Lacroix, American Apparel, Gap and Gianfranco Ferré only representing the tip of the iceberg. According to recent reports, BCBG are the latest company joining that ever expanding group.
Bosses are allegedly trying to secure a $230 million loan to pay creditors and vendors that they have been unable to pay since February. A source told WWD that the brand has explained to creditors that they cannot fulfil their obligations until the loan goes through making the new loan agreement "critical to the ongoing viability of the company," Moody’s Investors Service explains .
Max Azria has an infatuation with the minidress, if his Spring '11 collection is anything to go by. The BCBG designer paraded a set of thigh-grazing styles down the runway yesterday, with white and pale grey allowing the silhouettes to speak for themselves. The result? A clean and effortless spring wardrobe for those ready to show a little leg.
Predominantly using free-flowing fabrics like silk and crepe, Azria made fluidity a priority. Even the occasional strapless jumpsuits seemed light and breezy. Pops of orange, pink and canary yellow injected even more youth into the collection, which we could see front-row guests including Alison Brie, Kelly Rowland and Poppy Delevigne snapping up for their wardrobes.
The BCBG Max Azria time slot was, unexpectedly, an unfortunate one. It was the first New York Fashion Week show in the tents for the season, at 10 a.m. Thursday morning. Anna Wintour dashed out of the show early, before Max and Lubov Azria took their bows. She, like many members of the fashion industry, found out that Alexander McQueen hanged himself in London that day. But as it had to, the show went on.
Fortunately, the show was a good one - and we dare say this BCBG collection was one of the brand's best in ages. Models stomped down the catwalk in what seemed like variations on the scarf: asymmetrical-hemmed silk dresses, billowing skirts and long-sleeved cape dresses, for example. Each look was light enough to move with the breeze, but in a palette of hard neutrals injected with dusty yellow, the styles were more Leigh Lezark than Ashley Tisdale. All told, we'd buy every piece from A/W10. With our new black leather strappy wedges and a bit of an attitude, we'd be ready for the urban jungle every day.
Images courtesy of LOVE - Above: Daphne @ Union Models
With the AW10 catwalk shows looming in the not-so-distant future, it's hard not to get excited to see not only the up and coming talented designers, but runways full of fresh faces, too.
Casting director Michelle Lee, who is responsible for picking the girls that grace the catwalks of Marc Jacobs and Marc by Marc Jacobs revealed her top ten new faces for the coming season to LOVE, with girls coming from all over the globe and differing in experience from Topshop to BCBG.
We like to check in with our favourite models at each round of fashion weeks, but heaven knows that strutting down a raised platform isn't all that keeps the style industry's freshest faces at work. This week, we checked in with Katie Fogarty to see what life is like for a top model in the off-season. The Missouri native, who's shot campaigns for Balenciaga, Miu Miu and BCBG Max Azria, was happy to chat after recovering from jetlag from her Shanghai flight.