Ever since Sarah Jessica Parker and a slew of other A-list people left Halston earlier this summer, people have been questioning whether or not the brand can go on. But if you take a look back at Halston’s history, you’re likely to find that the company has had its fair share of trouble, and not just recently.
According to a new story in The Observer, the storied fashion label has been struggling ever since its founder Roy Halston sold ownership of the company 1973 — and ended up getting pushed out. Since the 1990s, a revolving door of designers and other executives had failed to make Halston the success it had been under its founder’s leadership. So for Parker, who joined the company after Tamara Mellon and entertainment mogul Harvey Weinstein both came on board, the chips were already down. And just last month, Mellon, Weinstein and designer Marios Schwab left the company after the August issue of Vogue revealed that her time at the company had ended.
But when Parker came on board as chief creative officer of the then-new Halston Heritage label in 2010, she did manage to have some success. While a few heralded her hiring as a dumb move on the part of Hillco Capital, which owns the Halston brand, others expressed confidence that Parker would inject a little life into the brand. And for a while, she did. Jeffrey B. Hecktman, Hillco’s CEO, told The Observer that under Team Weinstein’s guise, “the brand has grown, achieving record sales in over 700 doors.”
Unfortunately, record sales don’t necessarily mean record profits — especially considering how much Parker was given in exchange for coming to the company. An equity stake and a salary of $13 million over four years is a lot for a company that wasn’t on solid footing to begin with. And her dedication to the brand was, apparently, unparalleled.
“She showed up to the millionth degree and worked until the wee hours of the morning and on weekends,” [one] former Halston employee told The Observer. “And her designs were successful!” According to the source, Ms. Parker’s line, which was carried in 500 Nordstrom outlets, or “doors” as they’re called, and 99 Hudson Bays, brought in $25 million in wholesale revenue. “On paper, the company was making money,” the source added. “I don’t know what the margins were, but the wholesales were valid.”
None of the other executives could seem to make it work, either, even though they run other fairly successful fashion brands. Bonnie Takhar, who worked at Jimmy Choo before she joined Halston, had helped turn that company into a success — and Mellon, who is president of Choo, has only developed that success further. Weinstein manages Marchesa with his wife, Georgina Chapman, and that company couldn’t be farther from the fractious, disorganized mess that Halston appears to be. Even Parker’s Bitten line for Steve and Barry’s had its fair share of success before the chain that carried it collapsed in the recession.
But Halston, inexplicably, is still standing. And if the numbers are any indication, it’s not worse off because of Parker’s involvement. If anything, she might have made sure the company would see another dayhttp://www.styleite.com/media/bcbg-halston/.