Seriously, I don't remember, maybe I never knew, what happened at Romeo Gigli. One season my former husband and I were happily buying a collection that was just so good, the Milan showroom bustling and happy and the clothes will sell out in the store. It's all magic, he's just so good and then ... rumors and cancellations, tension and tut-tut's. The label is no longer his and that business, that really incredibly wonderful business, is over.
Jil Sander is elegant, blond and the dark romanticism of her aesthetic was always minimal. The extraneous looked like frou-frou and the pure sensuality of fine fabrics mattered. Certain stores like Linda Dresner on Madison Avenue, Maxfield, Savannah in Santa Monica, Bagutta in Sohu ... had waiting lists because it was so good. Something happened, a chance encounter with Miuccia's rotund husband and first she was in, then she was out, then she was ever so briefly in and then it was very much over.
Roland Mouret had The Dress, the skinny tight magically constructed dress that sold for more on eBay than even in shops. It was essential, a mood that suited Victoria Beckham who understands it better than anyone. The name was gone, some European shoes or maybe dresses for the European Gap's and somehow, I do believe, he was able to find backers to buy back his name. His very name ...
Whatever happened to the intensely masterful Herve Leger should be a fashion school lesson, a movie and new laws to protect creators from predatory entanglements. Just shaking my head, literally, imagining the fate of YSL if Pierre Berge had not been by his side, protecting his brand. Years and years, a couple of decades have gone by and the genius, the expensive and seductive dresses of the real Herve (yes, my former husband sold those very expensive confections like very fine wine; on the essential movie star, it was goddess dressing) was lost to Max Azria, who owns the name and produces, umm, dresses with Herve's labels. Tight dresses but wholly capricious and no longer suitable except for lesser starlets who appreciate a nice frock and have no idea what was lost. Mr. Azria has done well, indeed. The real Herve Leger? The most classically fine, sensual dresses both for his Haute Couture and ready to wear .. under a different name, which is something that the Courts of the world would not permit for any other artist class. Herve Leroux and they are for goddesses. Imagine ..
John Galliano offended Mr. Arnault by not immediately taking two advil and calling to profusely apologize. Or so it is said. In this day and age where many of us have watched helplessly and with great anger a loved one lose their battle with addiction and descend into degradation and defeat, Mr. Arnault could have stood by his friend, his great designer. He did not. Oh. Mr. Arnault owns a substantial 70% or so of the John Galliano name. Carrying on without John, when he has alleged that John had offended him. I cannot begin to understand it.
The list is far longer and I am sure that at some point in many creator's lives they would sign anything and say thank you for an investment to keep on going. The practice of devouring a designer's name beyond a reasonable amount of time, seven years might be a number to consider as it is frequently used in non-compete clauses, is reprehensible. In London, when a good piece of art goes to auction, there may be a portion sent to the estate of the artist. It seems it is only in fashion that this level of abuse exists.
My own skirmish during a War of The Roses divorce over my name has made me very militant about this. Conceding Giorgio St Angelo to end the legal battle was silly. I wish I hadn't. I loved Giorgio and his clothes. It's hard to do legal battle when all you really want to do is buy and sell pretty dresses.
The battles over copyright protection continue, the battles over counterfeit designer goods continue and there is no battle that I know of to deprive shark investors of the use of a designer's name after some amount of time.