On the heels of some relatively recent acquisitions, including the one involving buzzy young brand, Cushnie et Ochs, InterLuxe is something of a budding American conglomerate. Founded just last year by New York-based private equity firm Lee Equity Partners, together with fashion industry veterans Allen Questrom (former CEO of Neiman Marcus and Barneys New York), Gary Wassner (one of the most noteworthy financial advisors and investors in the fashion industry), and Melissa Beste (former CEO of Akris North America and the UK and president of Americas for Alexander McQueen), InterLuxe invests in both emerging and newly-established fashion brands.
The group – which “invests in emerging fashion and luxury brands with leading design talent, exceptional product, and a strong customer following” – could prove an American LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in the making, in its first year of business alone, InterLuxe has brokered three major deals: Andrea Lieberman sold a majority stake of her contemporary label A.L.C. to the company in August; Jason Wu sold a controlling stake in his business to InterLuxe in September; and now InterLuxe’s Wassner, among others, have taken a minority stake in Cushnie et Ochs.
Not surprisingly, all three brands have been clients of Wassner’s at his company, Hilldun Corporation, a factoring and finance firm that has served the likes of an array of Council of Fashion Designers of America (“CFDA”) designers, in particular, including Alexander Wang, Sophie Theallet, Wes Gordon, and Derek Lam, among many others.
According to its website, InterLuxe’s goal is “to accelerate growth across distribution channels by solving internal resource and capital constraints and allowing talented design and management teams to focus on their core competencies.”
Its formation and recent acquisitions follow something of similar endeavors by the likes of Andrew Rosen, Mickey Drexler, and Stephen Ruzow’s Pegasus Apparel Group. As noted by the New York Times’ Vanessa Friedman recently, “Andrew Rosen, who founded Theory and later acquired Helmut Lang, was once credited by Anna Wintour with building ‘an American equivalent’ of LVMH. But his company is now owned by Fast Retailing, the Japanese-based parent of Uniqlo, and while he has personal investments in Rag & Bone, Proenza Schouler and Alice and Olivia, they are minority stakes.”
Pegasus is also no longer in the running for such as title, as it has parted ways with most – if not all – of the brands in which it once held ownership stakes, including Miguel Adrover, Daryl K., Pamela Dennis, Judith Leiber and Angela Amiri.
The looming question for InterLuxe is, thus: What brand(s) will it set its sights on next?