Fashion News Alert: Margot Robbie Fronts Chanel’s New Fragrance, Forever 21 Prepares for Bankruptcy, Lord & Taylor Sold, and Goodbye Isabel Toledo

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Margot Robbie has a new job. She is the face of Chanel’s new fragrance ‘Gabrielle Chanel Essence.’

Chanel has released the advertising campaign for the new fragrance with Margot Robbie in a long, white floating gown with gold and white veils swirling around her. The white and gold in the ad campaign reference the notes of the fragrance.

Images for the campaign were photographed by famed photographer Nick Knight. Knight also directed the campaign’s video with Beyoncé’s song “Halo” in the background.

Gabrielle Chanel Essence is based on four flowers that Coco Chanel loved, jasmine, ylang ylang, tuberose, and orange flower. The fragrance is now available online or through authorized vendors.

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The $100 million-dollar deal

Hudson’s Bay Co. announced on Wednesday that the financially strapped mega retail store, Lord & Taylor, will be sold to Le Tote, a seven-year old clothing rental company start-up. The price of the acquisition is a mere $100 million dollars with $25 million to come in a promissory note to be paid over two years. In addition, Hudson’s Bay Co. will get a 25% stake in Lord & Taylor with two board members on the board of Le Tote.

Le Tote will manage and keep 38 Lord & Taylor stores open, closing five locations. According to Hudson’s Bay Co. CEO Helene Foulkes, the deal brings together “fashion rental subscriptions with traditional retail.”

Le Tote, based in San Francisco, and founded in 2012, offers monthly boxes of apparel items that users can purchase or return after use. Le Tote is backed by Lerer Hippeau, Azure Capital, and Simon Ventures.

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Another one is about to bite the dust

As reported by Bloomberg this past Wednesday, Forever 21 Inc. is preparing for a possible bankruptcy filing. The clothing retail giant has been experiencing dwindling cash reserves and a slew of unprofitable stores for some time.

Founded in 1984, Forever 21 established itself has a fashion chain store that sold fashionable clothing at low prices, mainly for a consumer base of 18 to 35-year-old shoppers. In recent years, Forever 21 has seen its consumer base dwindle and the store chain in now making a last-ditch effort to restructure its debt so that a bankruptcy filing will not be necessary.

Forever 21 currently has 600 stores in the US with additional stores in Canada, Latin America, Europe, and Asia.

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Adios Isabel

Cuban-born fashion designer Isabel Toledo has passed away. The 59-year old independent designer died of breast cancer in a New York City hospital on Sunday.

Toledo moved to West New York, New Jersey as a teenager from Cuba. She studied at Parsons School of Design and Fashion Institute of Technology with her first collection in 1985 picked up by Fiorucci and Bergdorf Goodman.

“I really love the technique of sewing more than anything else … the seamstress is the one who knows fashion from the inside,” she said in a 1989 interview as reported in “That’s the art form really, not fashion design, but the technique of how it’s done.”

For several years, Isabel Toledo was creative director for Anne Klein; created accessories for Payless ShoeSource; and collaborated with MAC Cosmetics, the latter project launched in 2005. And with her husband and collaborator Reuben Toledo received the 2005 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award and were also bestowed the Otis Critics’ award. She was also honored with the 2008 Couture Council of the Museum of FIT’s Award for Artistry of Fashion.

Perhaps, Isabel Toledo most shining moment was when she dressed First Lady Michelle Obama in a lemongrass yellow wool lace shirtdress with matching overcoat for President Obama’s first inauguration in 2009. Minutes after watching the new First Lady in her outfit, Toledo told CNN: “We’re levitating—we really are.”

Isabel Toledo is survived by her husband Ruben and her two sisters, Mary Santos and Anna Bertha Izquierdo.

—William S. Gooch

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