Marks & Spencer have been in the headlines today after announcing their worst quarterly figures in years but in a stroke of PR savviness, all attention was steered away from the disappointing figures because they also used today to announced that Belinda Earl is joining their team.
The high street giant, who experienced a drop of 6.8 percent in non-food sales, confirmed that Earl will join the company as their style director starting from September 1. 'Belinda...has a unique insight into British style and a wealth of experience across all categories of clothing and general merchandise,' the company said in a statement, and considering the problems they're facing, it couldn't have come at a better time.
This week WWD confirmed that Joanna Sykes will leave her position as the creative director of Aquascutum at the end of the month.
The news doesn't come as a surprise. While Sykes continues to get strong reviews for her collections, to say that things have been rocky at the brand would be a understatement. Despite having a huge cash injection by Harold Tilman and Belinda Earl in 2009 and the team working tirelessly to turn things around, their financial problems haven't disappeared. It was only a matter of time, then, before Sykes decided to go.
'It is very early days for us as a new management team, but we will shortly announced structural changes that will focus the business and ensure the longevity of this incredible British heritage brand,' Tim Daly, Aquascutum's new chief executive director, told WWD last month before Sykes' departure was announced. According to Daly, the decision was mutually agreed.
Last month Aquascutum announced that they had filed for administration but it looks like things aren't as bad as they had thought. Today WWD reports that Hong Kong-based company YGM have bought the failing company.
The company already own the intellectual property rights for the company and controls all of its Asian business but the new deal will mean that it was also take over the British section of the company too giving the company full control over the brand's distribution and manufacture. That doesn't mean that the brand is out of trying times. After all, the company continue to fail despite Harold Tilman and Belinda Earl investing an estimated £30 million in the company when they came on board in 2009 so it's going to need a miracle to help turn things around.
Yesterday was a really sad day as Aquascutum confirmed that are going into administration. In a statement the board explained that 'the senior management team have worked tirelessly to develop and build the Aquascutum brand and offer.'
Despite their efforts, the news didn't come as a surprise. For a long time reports have been surfacing confirming that the brand's financial problems were dire. Things looked like they were possibly on the up back in 2009 when British Fashion Council chairman Harold Tilman and Belinda Earl bought the company and brought on designer Joanna Sykes to serve as creative director but sadly the company continued to make significant losses. 'The challenging conditions in the UK, however, has unfortunately meant that the team have been unable to develop and build the Aquascutum brand' the statement said.
Since arriving at fashion week back in February 2008, womenswear has always been strong at Jaeger London. Each season Stuart Stockdale delivers strong pieces that women actually want to wear, but it's not all about womenswear. Menswear continues to be a key part of the brand. To celebrate that the brand has decided to launch their first freestanding menswear store.
Located in Cabot Place West, Canary Wharf, the store will focus on tailoring by providing a Jaeger London branded fitting service in store to make sure that your suits sit perfectly. "This is an exciting development for Jaeger menswear and its expansion," Belinda Earl, Jaeger's Group Chief Executive, said. "Canary Wharf is firmly established as a destination shopping area, giving us the opportunity to showcase our strong and stylish menswear collection to our growing menswear customer base."
The store officially opens to the public on November 21.
Karlie Kloss has cemented herself as one of the busiest models in the business, featuring in campaigns ranging from Hermes to Christian Dior and now she's got another brand under belt. Yesteday Aquascutum confirmed that Kloss will front it's Autumn/Winter 2010-11 campaign. But the model will not be alone. Matt Benstead, Jacob Coupe and Tristan Knights appear too.
The brand drew on the inspirations from the latest collection when deciding on the concept of the campaign. "For our autumn/winter 2010 campaign we wanted to capture the mood and atmosphere of the stormy seascapes of J.M.W Turner's paintings and the aesthetic of 'The French Lieutenant's Woman'; both inspirations for the autumn/winter 2010 Aquascutum collection," said Berlina Earl, the brand's CEO told Vogue.com.
The campaign, shot by Willy Vandeperre, debuts in the July issue of L'Uomo Vogue and was styled by long time contributor, Edward Enninful. "We have worked with Willy Vanderperre and Karlie Kloss for the second season; I feel they understand and reflect the refined sense of Aquascutum's British heritage".
Classic and elegant label Aquascutum has a new design director, the fabulous Joanna Sykes. After setting its sights on the Sykes and getting the result it hoped for, the 158-year-old brand is about to get the Joanna touch. On choosing Sykes, Belinda Earl of Jaeger and Chief Executive of Aquascutum said “Joanna has a fantastic eye for detail and cut and she produces clothes we would all want to wear."
In charge of Menswear, Womenswear and Accessories, Sykes hopes to bring her own unique touch that we have seen her bestow upon previous clients Giorgio Armani and Alberta Ferretti. Also as a successful graduate of Central Saint Martins and having her own label 'Sykes' launch in 2007, she is the perfect choice for the iconic British brand.
She described her collaboration with the brand as "incredibly exciting and I hope to continue to create beautiful, relevant, understated clothes and accessories with subtle detail and the unconventional sexiness for which I am known. I want to combine this with a respect for Aquascutum’s heritage, an appreciation of the ground breaking fabrics the brand has pioneered and of course a celebration of the tailored suit, outerwear and the iconic trench coat.”
Unfortunately we won't get to see any of Sykes work until next February since it is too soon for Aquascutum to be showing at London Fashion Week in September stated Earl to press. She will continue to work for her own label alongside her new position at Aquascutum.
Just after we thought the rollercoaster that Aquascutum has been riding on lately was over, there has been another twist in the tale of the legendary British label. Although the AW10 collection for the brand received appraisal from press, women's wear designer Michael Herz and menswear's Graeme Fidler have handed in their resignation, it is said, to focus on new projects.
The pair have seen a lot change at the heritage house since their arrivals in 2000 and 2002, with the takeover by BFC and Jaeger chairman Harold Tillman and chief executive Belinda Earl being the most recent change in management. "They've had a great time at the brand, but they want to move on, and we fully understand that," Earl was quick to point out. "We wish them well, and the situation is amicable."
Good news: all you fans of Jaeger London's effortless aesthetic and statement pieces will be happy to know that the brand's collection will be streamed live this season. Following in the footsteps of Marc Jacobs and Burberry, amongst others, the label will be making its show more accessible by allowing fashionistas at home to stream the show as it happens.
Tune in here or here at 3.30 p.m. GMT on February 22 to get your very own front-row view of the show. Belinda Earl, CEO of the group, is pleased with this development because the brand is "utilising the power of the internet to share the excitement of our runway show with our customers, giving them a preview of Jaeger London's Autumn/Winter 2010 collection at the same time as the world's leading fashion editors and stylists." Lucky us! Just ensure to set a reminder and let us know what you think of the collection.