On Tuesday of this past week, Liz Claiborne, founder of the fashion line which bears her name, passed away after a year-long bout with cancer. She was seventy-eight years old.
Young fashion fans might not have been very familiar with the Liz Claiborne name itself, as it had become a less-contemporary brand over recent years. But they certainly knew some of the lines owned by that parent company, names such as Juicy Couture and Kate Spade. And, in February 2007, the Liz Claiborne name got a major infusion of new energy and attention when it was announced that Tim Gunn
from Project Runway
would be joining Liz Claiborne as their Chief Creative Officer
While Tim Gunn’s experience as a chair of the Fashion Department at Parsons The New School for Design certainly gives him the expertise needed for such a role, no doubt his newfound celebrity on Project Runway and association with a contest to find up-and-coming designers were also attractive to the brand.
Liz Claiborne may not be at the forefront of fashion now, but when Claiborne was getting her start, her style and merchandising represented “a revolution” says Gunn. She focused on work-friendly attire that was both appropriate and feminine – a combination that working women had previously had difficulty finding.
She also pioneered a merchandising method, grouping her clothing together as a “lifestyle brand” rather than separating the pieces throughout different departments. This simple but effective marketing technique caught on so well that, Gunn continues, “Now everybody does it.”
Gunn’s role will no doubt be to help transition the perception of the Claiborne’s eponymous brand from “Mom” clothes to a fashion-forward label with the same kind of cultural excitement that Project Runway currently has. He will certainly have the inspiration of the energy and ingenuity from the woman herself and the company she began thirty years ago.
- Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Source: The Miami Herald)
(Image courtesy Bravo)