NexCen wanted to unload Bill Blass from its books months ago but only just now made the sale. And like every pair of Manolos in this town, they had to mark it waaaaay down to get it out the door. Though NexCen sought $25 million for the designer business in September, they sold it for a mere $10 million. The lucky buyer is Peacock International Holdings LLC, a men’s dress shirt and neckwear company. We know — random.
NexCen shut down the Bill Blass ready-to-wear line on December 19, laying off 60 employees with no severance. So now that the label’s in Peacock’s nest, can the line spread its wings and soar once more? Eh, don’t get your hopes up. At least, not anytime soon. Since Peter Som left as head designer of the Bill Blass line two months ago, reportedly over frustrations that NexCen didn’t know how to run a designer brand, and NexCen couldn’t financially support a spring 2009 runway show, it’s going to be hard to revive the brand to its former ready-to-wear glory. No head womenswear designer (it should be noted Michael Bastian remains creative designer for menswear) and no runway presence do not a booming label make, and few expect it to become so.
Meanwhile, NexCen plans to use the cash to pay off some of its debts, like that incurred by the Blass brand and, perhaps, its purchase of the Great American Cookie company. Yeah, the company that wants to focus on selling cookies and growing ice-cream franchises was evidently not the best choice to run a designer fashion label. Stereotypes don’t exist for nothing.