Tamara Mellon is gearing up to relaunch her namesake brand with a new business model: direct to consumer. To celebrate the upcoming e-commerce unveiling on Oct. 2, Mellon welcomed an intimate group to a breakfast to preview the styles.
But two weeks ago, Mellon was dealing with another issue: The designer filed a lawsuit against her former employer, Jimmy Choo. The suit says a boycott initiated by Choo and its parent company, Labellum Group, led to the bankruptcy of Tamara Mellon Brand LLC in December, costing Mellon millions of dollars.
Mellon spoke out on the issue:
“It’s very disappointing to me that I had a noncompete agreement with Jimmy Choo, which I respected, and when the noncompete ran out, I approached factories in Italy that I always worked with,” she claimed. “Unfortunately, Jimmy Choo threatened them and said, ‘If you work with Tamara, we’re going to pull out,’ which is grossly unfair to not let me start and create a new business. I’m a tiny little startup, they are a giant — it’s like David and Goliath. That’s what my case is about.”
Choo responded to the allegations, saying, “This case is without merit and will be vigorously contested.”
Even with the case, Mellon is confident about what’s ahead. “The most exciting thing for me is to show everyone the new business model, how the product is going to be delivered over the months,” she told FN. “You can bring items out a lot earlier than if you had to design a year ahead. You can do one item that inspires you and put it up for sale. That’s fun and exciting.”
The launch will include both collection (core looks) and lab styles, which refers to more fashion forward and experimental looks.
“There will be timeless pieces that will always be available, as women we repeat buy things that we love,” said Mellon. “The lab is our more fashion-forward pieces, the first style that will come out ifs the fishnet [over-the-knee boots].”
The Frontline sandals are a core style and a hit among the celebrity set.
“This is really a favorite style for me. It’s what a modern, strappy sandal looks like: cool and doesn’t look dated,” said Mellon. “It’s easy to wear and goes with everything. You can throw it on with jeans or wear with a black cocktail dress. It’s probably our most iconic sandal.”
To view celebs in the Frontline, click through the gallery.