Trying to explain the business side of the fashion industry is a little difficult — it operates similarly to what we can only describe as a weird hybrid of car companies and major league sports franchises. You have the big companies that own individual brands (LVMH, PPR, The VF Corporation) and the smaller companies that trade smaller players around, trying to climb the ranks of global volume and revenue.
And that’s sort of what’s happening with Proenza Schouler, which has for years been a rising star in American fashion. It’s been rumored for a long while now that Theory president Andrew Rosen has had his eye on the It brand led by Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez. WWD reports today that he’s getting closer to making his vision a reality.
The story goes that The Valentino Group (which is itself owned by the European private equity fund Permira) took a 45 percent stake in Proenza Schouler in 2007. The intent was to grow the brand — and it has grown rapidly, with more success and acclaim at the end of each runway presentation. There was even an idea that Lazaro and Hernandez would replace Valentino when he retired.
But after Valentino chairman Matteo Marzotto, who orchestrated the Proenza acquisition in the first place left the group in 2008, “it’s widely believed that … no significant effort was made by Permira to really grow the Proenza Schouler brand.” If it joins Rosen’s Japan-based Link Theory Holdings Company, it would be a sister to Helmut Lang and Theory. There’s no official word on the terms of the deal — or whether it will actually go through — but Rosen did today’s Proenza show.
While moving away from the Valentino Group’s vast resources might be a little difficult to deal with at first, if it gives Proenza Schouler room to grow, we say full steam ahead.