Emanuel Unagro isn't the only brand finally moving in a positive direction. Halston, too, has had a pretty rough time over the past few years. The team has changed more times that I can remember and even the star power of Sarah Jessica Parker couldn't help turn things around. Things are on the up though. Back in February Ben Malka was brought on board as its new CEO and talking to the L.A. Times, he revealed that there's a lot of good things on the horizon.
First up is a big move to L.A., which he describes as a 'hidden secret for fashion,' along several new store openings in the next few years and a return to the New York Fashion Week runway schedule. Whether the positive changes are a result of the $20 million cash injection that Malka brought to the table or whether it's a sign that the brand is on a better financial footing is still unclear. What it does show, though, is that the brand isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
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.
Halston haven't had the best of times recently, what with Sarah Jessica Parker and basically the whole team walking out earlier this yea, but it looks like the brand has been working on a comeback strategy after the attention caused by the controversy began to wane and according to sources, Nicole Richie is involved.
Reports yesterday allege that the designer is in talks to be the face of the brand. ‘They wanted someone with Nicole’s fashion credentials,’ a source told Showbiz Spy. ‘She is the perfect ambassador for Halston and even wore one of their gowns to the launch of her own fashion brand last week...She’d love to produce a capsule collection with them.’
Although Halston continue to lose employees this week, they clearly seem to be doing something right as several Max Azria are reportedly moving to the brand.
Ben Malka, president of BCBG Max Azria, is allegedly set to head Halston Heritage and bring Marie Mazelis with him after she announced her departure from Hervé Léger and Max Azria as creative director yesterday. Despite telling WWD that, "I haven't made a final decision yet" about her next move, many claim that her move to Halston Heritage is confirmed but her exact role is still unclear.
Halston is looking for new financial options these days, according to WWD reports. The brand was acquired by The Weinstein Company and Hilco Consumer Capital in 2007, but in a search for new funds, it's rumoured to checking with an investment bank to explore options. A source close to the brand says that could range from a cash infusion to selling the brand.
Sarah Jessica Parker's label Halston Heritage (she serves as president and chief creative officer) has been gaining notice since launching a year ago, and the source says it "was definitely a viable business." That said, Halston reportedly still needs more capital to help the company grow, and investors have been reluctant to inject more cash after four years. About any potential deal, the source notes: "It’s a very complicated structure and dynamic at the board level." Richard Kaye, EVP and chief marketing officer at Hilco Trading, declined to comment on the issue.
I said, "Please know this now: I will never do this for a title. I will never dip in and out of this. I’ll do it like everything else I’ve ever done. I’ll be involved down to the splitting of the atom."
Yesterday, it was announced that Halston CEO Bonnie Takhar was let go by the brand - a move made allegedly because board members wanted to take the brand in a different direction. Sarah Jessica Parker, who joined the brand in January as president and chief creative officer, isn't happy to see Takhar leave.
"Sarah and Bonnie had a meeting on Friday in Halston's offices to discuss problems with the latest collection," a source told Page Six. "Sarah has been a strong supporter of Bonnie for a very long time, and has been the sole voice supporting her against the board and shareholders. She has been fighting this for a very long time. She believed in Bonnie. She was emotional and upset because this finally came to a head."
Harvey Weinstein, a board member at the brand, has since released a statement confirming the decision. He said: "Sarah Jessica is a huge supporter of Bonnie's, but it was time to change direction. It was the rest of the board that made the decision. No one was more steadfast to Bonnie than Sarah Jessica."
For the second time Marios Schwab proved why his appointment as creative director of Halston was a match made in heaven. Schwab understands the fabric of the Halston but isn't a slave to its heritage and instead, lends a modern twist to bring the brand forward. With that said, his spring/summer 2011 offerings for the brand was strong.
The collection started with models appearing in floaty dresses softly draped with space-like prints. Asymmetric long line dresses were subtly sexy drawing our attention to toned arms and the neck. Although Schwab threw in a long sleeved animal print maxi for good measure along with the space-like prints, the collection was predominantly black, orange or came in a pinky purplish shade like on silk floor length gowns. One that stood out in particular was a short dress that looked like it was originally a maxi that had been beautifully pinned up to one side, flashing a bit of thigh. Totally fitting since the show notes bold said, 'No question. The look of the moment is the look of skin'.
Towards the end of the collection a series of black dresses appeared - the first was a short black halter neck with a gold belt and gold detail around the neck. The next was floor-length and asymmetric with a cut out in the middle revealing a hint of flesh and the last was also long but came with a deep V-neck.
As fans of Schwab's eponymous line, it was hard for us not to fall for his Halston offerings but that aside, I'm sure there are several Halston girls lining up to get their hands on the collection.
It seems that it's all change for New York Fashion Week this season, and we're not just talking about the change in venue. Lincoln Centre's new fashion director Stephanie Winston Wolkoff has certainly made her mark - at the beginning of this year she announced that fashion week gate-crashers would be a thing of the past, and she's stuck to her word.
According to IMG, roughly 80 per cent of the designers showing this season are jumping on board with Winston Wolkoff's plan to send out bar-coded invitations, meaning guests will be able to check themselves in and find their seats using kiosks at the venue. The implications of the coded system have been put in force to ensure a smoother, more efficient admittance for guests, however it will also wipe out any gate-crashers, as well as allowing publicists to detect no-shows, enabling them to fill any empty seats.
Alongside her plans for technologically advanced admittance, Winston Wolkoff has revealed that she aims to make Lincoln Centre's devotion to fashion a year round thought, rather than just season to season. "I want to see fashion on par with all of the other cultural activities here - the ballet, the opera," she told the Wall Street Journal. "I really do think that it's going to be very important that fashion at Lincoln Centre becomes a year-round initiative."