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Talking with Juicy Couture’s Pam Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor

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Sam Glaser

Is Skaist-Taylor similar to Juicy Couture? We’re still obsessed with casual luxury, comfort and all of those things that are Skaist-Taylor and Juicy—but it’s a new day. It was our fairy tale then. It was made with passion and love and authenticity—and so is this, but this is chapter two, and it’s a completely different mentality in terms of fashion. It’s still totally autobiographical California eccentric—it’s who we are … a walk in our closets.

Can we expect track pants 2.0? We do have two velour pants in this line … It’s a completely different velour. It’s this insane, sick Japanese fabric that is very drapey and soft. It’s seamed and styled. You don’t wear it with a hoodie. We show it with a T-shirt and a fur shrug. A totally different eclectic look.

What were the key lessons from Juicy? 1. We stayed at the party way too long. When it’s not fun anymore it’s time to go. We sold our business, but we didn’t realize we’d sold it. We tried to hold on. But then, when we couldn’t anymore it was really tough … There were too many cooks in the kitchen. If you want to stay and run it, do private equity, don’t sell a hundred percent, keep control over it. At the end of Juicy we were dressing a fictitious girl. It wasn’t us; we didn’t want the clothes. So, it was over.

2. Too many people were wearing it, and big is the killer of cool. A lot of young businesses make that mistake because you want the big sales, you want to grow fast, so you sell to everybody. But we’re not doing that … you gotta keep it wantable. It’s not wantable if it’s all over the place. Skaist-Taylor’s distribution’s very small. Selling out is the way you want it—tight and right.

Juicy helped define the celebrity fashion endorsement. What are celebrities’ roles in fashion today? The bottom line is celebrity sells, there’s no doubt about it. In the ’80s it was the age of the supermodel. But now, celebrities are on the cover of Vogue, Harper’s—they’re all celebrities, and before it was never like that. If you get the right celebrity in something it is going to sell out. When we did Juicy, we didn’t pay celebs to wear our clothes, they wanted to … Girls know when it’s authentic—when the celebs are really wearing the clothes because they love it, or when they’re paid to wear them.

How has “glamour” evolved since the days of Juicy? Women are a lot more aware now of what is out there … Now with the economy being what it is, with media and social media ... women are savvy and smart enough, and they want to create their own glamour … They do the high and low thing. It all doesn’t have to be designer, or from one department. Girls are wearing thrift, and contemporary, and advanced contemporary, and designer and mixing it up. That’s the cool modern shopper.

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