Proenza Schouler peaks serious interest in investors
If we’ve learned anything about the world of fashion today, it is its unending sense of transiency; how all but the most revered of the houses are open to abrupt changes in leadership and ownership. Proenza Schouler, the indomitable NYC brand, are discovering this quality firsthand with the announcement that their brand is officially on the market, being eyed by two vastly different financial suitors.
Proenza Schouler began as the senior thesis presentation of designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez upon graduation from Parsons in 2002. From humble, and studious, beginnings, they went on to win the very first CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund Award in 2004, continuing their streak of excellence in 2007 with the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year, a prize they won again in 2011. Initially starting out as a womenswear brand, they have expanded into accessories, with their products sold by a wide variety of retailers including Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman, earning legions of fans world wide.
It seems no surprise that such an eclectic brand would catch the attention of financiers, but the fate of Proenza Schoulder seems divided between two entities. The first, LVMH, is a massive fashion conglomerate, laying claim to everything from Dior to Louis Vuitton, and have recently made several purchases of other ‘Proenza-sized’ labels to add to their roster. The other major bidder that is rumored to be in the lead to land Proenza is a more curious choice, the private equity firm Castanea Partners. Though Castanea owns several companies focused on accessories and furnishings, Proenza would be the first acquisition of a fashion house to their collection.
While Proenza’s future remains uncertain, either option for where it could move seems invigorating. It is not at all the end of a fashion house, but the beginning of the next, far bigger, stage.
Photo by Craig McDean