Isaac Mizrahi Leaves Target for Liz Claiborne

Fashion designer and style personality Isaac Mizrahi will be ending his association with mass retailer Target when his contract expires at the end of this year.  He will then take the helm as creative director for Liz Claiborne Company in Spring, 2009.

The announcement comes none-to-soon for the struggling Claiborne brand, which revolutionized wardrobing for the working woman in the 1970’s but has fallen behind in recent years.  Originator Liz Claiborne passed away in June 2007.

“Liz Claiborne is an American fashion icon,” Mizrahi said in a statement on Tuesday.  “Her clothes were not only beautiful, not only smart, they were revolutionary. She invented separates, and invented an entirely new category in the department store.

“She made fashion friendly and accessible, and in doing so, she became every woman’s best friend.  These are all ideas I treasure and I’m honored to have the opportunity to build on this fantastic legacy and excited to reestablish the label as a must-have. And, as excited as I am about developing Liz Claiborne, the collaboration also affords fantastic opportunities for growth in my own brand.”

Mizrahi’s sales for Target have topped $300 million annually since he started the line in 2003.  He also designs a higher-end line under his own name for Bergdorf Goodman.  He’ll continue that association with the department store once he becomes creative director at Liz Claiborne next year.

The appointment is viewed by many in the industry as a step in the right direct for the Claiborne brand.  Will it be a hit — or a miss?  We’ll know some time next year …

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