Liz Claiborne has bought Juicy Couture from its founders Gela Nash-Taylor and Pamela Skaist-Levy and enlisted New York-based designer Erin Fetherston to consult on the line, and design some limited edition pieces. There’s no question that Juicy Couture has grown stale these past few years, and this teaming with Fetherston has been seemingly done in hopes that the designer’s celebrity following and caché will attract a new consumer to the brand.
It can’t be denied that Juicy Couture is a pioneer, and that it has achieved unbelievable success in a fairly short time span. You can still spot Juicy Couture items on display in several prominent Madison and Fifth Avenue stores in New York City, everything from sweats to fragrances. However, amidst a sea of imitators in a troubled economy, the appeal of $100-plus velour and velvet sweat pants seems to have waned. Many customers also seem to be opting for Victoria Secret’s blatant and more frugally-priced Juicy knock-offs.
I can’t help but think of Couturier Chado Ralph Rucci, who recently expressed deep disdain when giving a talk to students at Washington University in St. Louis about American labels being blasé about the word “couture.” Do customers feel the same way? Has Juicy failed to keep up with their initial cutting edge, unique style, and quality? It seems the answer is obvious, especially now that they’ve been cut by key retailers.
Fetherston seems like a natural fit for the brand, as she is widely known for her frilly, feminine style and cocktail dress. There will surely be some overlap with her and Juicy’s customers. The young designer will hopefully help the brand revamp their image away from the tracksuit and into a more refined but still bright and fun direction, with a focus on more day and evening wear pieces. Fetherston will design the Juicy Couture line from May 1st until the end of 2011, while still working on her namesake collection.
Images courtesy of the Fashion Spot forums.