You may not recognise the name Andrew Rosen but does Theory ring a bell? The middle market retailer was established by Rosen back in 1997 with Elie Tahari and really paved the way for the contemporary market which is dominating the industry right now. In recognition of his sucess the Wall Street Journal have released a big feature on him titled, 'A Homegrown Fashion Mogul'.
While the term 'mogul' seems to be applied to any reality TV star making money off the back of their show or in the case of Kim Kardashian has more Twitter followers that Barack Obama, Rosen actually fits the bill. Theory has grown from yearly sales of $30 million back to $700 million today and last year he helped take the brand to the next level by hiring the brilliant Olivier Theyskens to serve as a creative director for his own line under the Theory umbrella.
But it doesn't just end there. Rosen helped pump financial support to several key young American brands like Proenza Schouler, Rag & Bone and Alice + Olivia, helping take their businesses to the next level. 'We don't have a Gucci or LVMH in this country," Anna Wintour said of Rosen, "but in his own way, Andrew is creating a kind of American equivalent.' And it's true. Rosen has pretty much done for contemporary brands what the big European conglomerates have done for luxury brands. If Lazaro Hernandez is anything to go by, Rosen might actually be doing a better job for these young brands. 'I mean, we hang out,' he told the title. 'If we wanted to be employees, we would have gone to one of the big vacant houses in Europe.' Rosen suggested the same thing at the time when the Proenza deal was announced. 'We believe that the Proenza business is the future of American luxury, and uniquely poised to compete in a global marketplace, which is currently dominated by European designers.'
Do you agree with Wintour? Is Rosen that influential?
When Theory announced that they had secured Olivier Theyskens' to design a line for them, I was surprised. After all, he is the designer that created 'that' dress for Madonna and his work at Nina Ricci was more couture than accessible smart but chic office wear as Theory is widely known for. Each season, however, we are shown just how right the collaboration is.
Theysken's Theory is painstakingly cool. As always, the Belgian designer showed a collection full of the pieces that you, and any downtown girl, would love to have in her wardrobe. A sequined jacket added that something extra to an otherwise super casual shorts and t-shirt combo and simple shirt peeped out underneath a bright yellow sweater styled with black leather shorts. Outwear came in all shapes and sizes ranging from a oversized styles in grey to a beautifully structured gold jacket that came accentuated at the waist.
It's not often that we cover the pre-season collections but Olivier Theyskens' Theory collection is definitely worth mentioning. Since arriving at Theory back in Spring 2011, the designer has really got into his stride and his mastered the cool t-shirt and jeans aesthetic with ease.
While there's nothing particularly groundbreaking about the collection, that is exactly why it works. The collection is full of everyday pieces that will slip into your wardrobe and remain as staples from seasont to season; so if you want pieces that will work hard for you, Theyskens' your man.
The past few weeks have been full of speculation and anticipation about Permira's sale of its stake in Proenza Schouler to an investor group including Theory's founders Andre Rosen and John Howard. Now we can confirm that the deal has finally gone through after a year of negotiations.
“We are thankful to VFG [owned by Permira] for giving us a start, and allowing us to get where we are today,” Jack McCollough, Lazaro Hernandez, and Proenza Schouler CEO Shirley Cook said when the news was announced. “There’s so much we’d like to accomplish and have found the perfect complement in John and Andrew to help us realize our dreams.”
I was out on the streets, seeing what regular girls were wearing and buying, and was like, ‘I should be able to do this!’ I was thinking about an urban look, an urban girl–and you can’t create an urban look without getting inspired by the streets of New York. Everything on the business side of things seemed more complicated than what I was used to–making a certain number of deliveries per year, entering the ‘meat market’ of the New York fashion industry–but then I met with Andrew and it changed. When we started talking, I wasn’t even thinking about working there–just sharing my own ideas and telling him what I wanted to do next–but he told me to look more closely at what was happening at his own brand, and I liked it a lot. I loved that it was totally centered and structured 100% around New York.
Image copyright LA The Los Angeles Times Magazine; shot by Mario Sorrenti
Now that Olivier Theyskens is showing the world his latest design work for Theory, he's...showing us something else. In the New York issue of LA The Los Angeles Times Magazine, it's Robert De Niro who got the cover spot, but we doubt he raised as many eyebrows as Theyskens did with this nude shot.
Previously, Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs have stripped for their own not-so-G-rated photos. What do you think of Theyskens' in-the-buff spotlight?
We love a good story about Olivier Theyskens, especially when there's positive news to report. (And we love it even more when said news is about Theyskens' employment status.) After rumours have flown around that the former Nina Ricci designer eventually would take over Lanvin or Oscar de la Renta, Daily Front Row has reported that the Belgian designer will take over as artistic director at Theory.
Theyskens and the label's founder and president, Andrew Rosen, had previously teamed up so Theyskens could design a capsule collection for Spring 2011. (We enjoy the fact that they said they should work together because both Theyskens and Theory start with "the.") In his expanded capacity with the label, the designer will now create full ranges for the brand, beginning with Fall 2011.
It's still a little curious how a designer known for 10-plus-inch heel-free boots really ended up at a fairly conservative brand known for its workwear basics, and Theyskens has had problems at both Rochas and Nina Ricci when it comes to converting great design into sales. That said, we still feel that Theyskens is one of the most talented designers of his generation, and whatever comes next, we'll probably be lusting after it.
As announced earlier this week, Olivier Theyskens has thankfully re-entered the world of gainful employment, after being named artistic director of Theory. Theyskens had previously been tipped to design a capsule collection, called Theyskens Theory, starting in Spring 2011 for the label. So besides designing the mainline collections from Fall 2011 because of his new job, he'll also keep up with this smaller range, which also carries a more expensive price point.
Theory has released the full set of images from the first Theyskens Theory line, and you can view them here. Thank the fashion gods that we finally have some more Theyskens in our life.