Wednesday, November 5, 2008

fashion feuds

Sometimes desperation leads to innovation. Tragedy can lead to tremendous success. When Christian Dior died, his young apprentice Yves St. Laurent took the reins of the famous French fashion house. I'm sure die-hard Dior fans weren't thrilled at first with the change in leadership and style, but ultimately, the house prevailed and continued to be successful. Even through the leadership of St. Laurent to Bohan to Ferre, and finally to Galliano, the history and air of elegance remains today.

In 1953, David Crystal, who already owned Izod, bought 50% of Lacoste to bring the range to America. Calling the range "Izod Lacoste", he marketed the companies signature pique polos and prep-wear. In the mid 80s, when the look of the prep was saturating the market, sales were incredibly high. But when the market was too saturated with the signature alligator embroidered polos, sales began to decline. In the mid 90s, the name and company was split - Izod to be a mid market price point, with Lacoste trying to recapture the luxe customer. In 1993, after a few other failed business attempts, Crystal's license ended on Lacoste, and he sold his half of the company back to the original owners (Sporloisirs S.A.), and sold Izod to VanHeusen. Lacoste wasn't available in America for several years, but now is reincorporated into the US Market throughout upscale department stores and freestanding boutiques.

Just like with the great schisms and evolution in fashion, I'm hoping the history and air of elegance of America continue through the future leadership of president-elect Obama.

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