The first fashion industry M&A of the year is here! Bluestar Alliance LLC has announced that is will acquire a “significant interest” in the Michael Bastian brand for an undisclosed amount, per WWD. Bluestar, which was founded in 2007 by Joseph Gabbay and Ralph Gindi, owns, manages and markets a growing portfolio of consumer brands including Catherine Malandrino, Kensie, and Harve Bernard, purchased the “majority of the intellectual property” of the label, according to Bastian. The designer will retain a key portion of the business and will remain in complete control of the luxury portion of the label. WWD notes, “The new joint venture, MB Brand Holdings LLC, will expand the Michael Bastian footprint into mid-level retailers with a line of licensed tailored clothing and sportswear before the end of this year.”
Bastian, who launched his menswear label in 2006, has had a strong hand in rallying for the recently initiated New York Men’s Week. You may recall that in Bastian skipped New York Fashion Week in September 2014 and for good reason. The celebrated menswear designer, who was honored with the CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year Award in 2011, held private appointments in his NYC showroom, a schedule that is much more in line with the European one, in lieu of a runway show in September.
In addition to operating his eponymous label, which has since expanded into womenswear, as well, Bastian launched an ongoing collaboration with GANT in 2010.
The initial meetings between Bluestar and Bastian started in July, according to the parties, and took until now to complete. Of the deal, Bastian told WWD: "While we have always been known for our luxury designer line, which we will still maintain, the expansion into new categories, markets and tiers of business is an important step in our goal of becoming a truly global lifestyle brand.”
Bluestar’s Joseph Gabbay said, “There is a tremendous void in the market for a true American men’s designer brand. By working with him [Bastian] to develop a new mid-level department store tier to his business, we will be able to offer his unique American point of view at affordable luxury price points.” Gindi, the other Bluestar co-founder, said he expects to offer “a small [Bastian] collection for holiday, just to get the consumer excited,” and a “full blowout” for 2017.