2011 end in a bad way for Vena Cava. As well as not being able to show their S/S12 collection reports confirmed that they had had to lay off a lot of staff and were forced to move out of their Soho headquaters due to financial problems caused by a loss of a major investor earlier on in the year. But don't worry. The brand are up and moving in a good direction again.
This week the brand released a press release explaining that their money woes had subdued after they managed to ink a new licencing partnership with Li & Fung subsidiary LF USA, which also works with everyone from Keds to Rachel Zoe. Under the arrangement founders Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayok will continue to design and work on the creative side while LF UK will take over the business side. But that's not all. To try and bring in a profit in the coming year the brand is set to expand into new product categories too.
Sadly things aren't looking to good for Vena Cava. Although the label has been well received by editors and celebrities since it was founded by design duo Lisa Mayock and Sophie Buhai back in 2004, the brand shutter.
As well as deciding not to show their S/S12 collection back in September, a source close to the brand revealed that the label had to move out of their Soho headquarters this week and are currently working from home and have had to lay off a lot of staff. Although their collaboration with TJ Maxx may still go ahead, WWD confirmed that the recent reports about the labels' financial situation are true and they are "on the brink". The trouble was caused by the loss of a major investor earlier on in the year but according to the duo, there is still potential for more investment. “We love what we built with Vena Cava and are dedicated to seeing it thrive and grow. We have had some very positive talks from potential partners and feel confident about moving forward,” Moyak told WWD.
We're on-the-record fans of Vena Cava, so naturally we were pleased to hear about Viva Vena: the label's new lower-priced basics range. Yes, Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock are launching a collection of t-shirts for fall. Expect organic cotton and jersey creations produced in LA, with Vena Cava's favoured hand-drawn designs and photo collages to abound.
Buhai explains that Viva Vena was "priced so you didn't have to think about it," with each piece retailing for less than $200. You can hit stories like Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue, or e-tailers Shopbop.com and Lagarconne.com starting in July to take home the new looks.
For fall, Lisa Mayock and Sophie Buhai wanted to roll out clothes for “the Vena Cava woman to wear in her cabin upstate.” Incorrectly, we assumed that would involve feminine takes on plaid and big boots. But one of the designers’ influences was a weekend in Woodstock, so that meant the Vena Cava girl had to be ready to rock. Enter bodycon asymmetrical black mindresses, sheer black tops to pair with slouchy belts, and a skeleton-print gossamer gown.
For all that, the collection didn’t veer too far into the rocker lifestyle. Mayock and Buhai introduced fur stoles on the runway, which, we must point out, ties in the cabin retreat. But the final proof that a Vena Cava outdoors-woman is unlike any other? The models accessorised their cabin gear with fishnets, purple-streaked ponytails and blood-orange lips. That's our kind of upstate retreat.
Lisa Mayock and Sophie Buhai didn't experience the problem so many university grads have when classes finish. Just three weeks after completing a course at the Parsons School of Design in 1999, the two California girls started putting together the firstVena Cava collection on their living room floor. A decade later, head buyers from Bergdorf Goodman and Bloomingdale's won't miss their fashion-week presentations, and even 'Gossip Girl' characters are name-dropping the brand. Not bad, right?
This week, the designers talk Brooklyn-based inspiration, keeping up with a growing business, and some unique and admirable fashion influences. We always knew Queen Nefertiti was ahead of her time.
Coco Rocha, Raquel Zimmerman, Arlenis Sosa and Anna Jagodzinska in one ad campaign? It's true, thanks to the Gap's collaboration with CFDA winners Alexander Wang, Vena Cava and Albertus Swanepoel. If khakis and white shirts are your fashion staples of choice, then this should be your dream. And should you want to try a new style of fringe, Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock would be great role models.
Because you always need a little nosh when you're out and about in your pink beer-can print Vena Cava dress. The designer, who created the line in 2004 with Lisa Mayock, talks to Lottie + Doof about domestic things like bacon chocolate, having dinner with Cleopatra and her aversion to Chinese cuisine.
Plus, she comes up with perhaps the only food joke that was ever funny.
Sophie Buhai and Lisa Maycock are moving forward by looking back. This season's Vena Cava presentation mixed modern technology with 80s quirkiness (holographic sequins??), and most of the looks came off likeable.
Let's start with the relatively simple, yes? The designers give off a Marios Schwab feel with this V-necked sleeveless number, and the print feels like a combination of an old tapestry and something straight from an 80s brunch. With tougher footwear, this is easily Camden-appropriate.