It's been a long, hard year, and the financial mess of the last few months has just made it longer and harder. For this, and many other reasons, fashion lines, magazines, and beloved boutiques have been dropping like flies. There are some we'll miss—Mayle, Presse—and some we're happy to see shuffle off this mortal coil—Hediwood, Lounge. So get out the hankies and put on some black, here's our roll call of the dead.
William Claxton—Claxton was famous for photographing Jazz musicians, Hollywood stars, and all the lights of the '60s and '70s. In fashion circles though, he will be most remembered for his collaborations with his model, wife, and muse Peggy Moffitt Claxton. Their work is still copied in photo editorials the world over.
Men's Vogue—It seemed like a good idea at the time. Anna Wintour and Co. looked at the burgeoning men's market and tried to develop the Vogue supplement, Men's Vogue, into its own title. Millions of dollars and a handful of issues later, the publication wound up right where it began—layered between the pages of its mother magazine.
Jovovich-Hawk—Helmed by Milla Jovovich and friend Carmen Hawk, this sultry, girlish brand rose high enough to have a Target collection and gained more respect than most celeb lines, but called it quit after five years so both designers could focus on family and other pursuits.
For 45 more of the dearly departed and to leave your condolences, click below.
Oak in the Slope—Oak on Bond Street is doing fine, and remains one of our favorite shops like, ever. It's older, Park Slope location, however, bit the big one after switching to shoes and accessories during the company's reshuffling. It makes sense, but it does deprive those living on the F train.
Mayle—One of our favorite brands, and a better mall-scale shop, Mayle announced that it would close early next year as founder Jane Mayle grew tired of New York's current retail climate. We expect she'll be landing a great gig somewhere soon, but even at that, many will miss her Art-Deco-inspired wears.
Elle Accessories—This smaller-sized title from the always-successful magazine family was the first thing to go when the market crashed and purse strings were tightened. There's a recurring rumor that it will return with an altered print schedule next year. Tell that to the laid-off staffers.
Mr. Blackwell—Richard Blackwell, an L.A.-based designer was famous for his best-dressed lists, but even more infamous for his worst-dressed lists. Skewering everyone from Liz Taylor to Madonna, Blackwell was had not been himself a true member of the style cognoscenti for years, but his acidic bon mots were essential snark for generations of fashion fans.
Steve & Barry—Never one of our faves, the cut-rate national fashion retailer sold everything from kid's clothes to Sarah Jessica Parker's clothing line, Bitten. Market forces killed this one, but maybe it would have survived the financial mess if its wears were a worthy competitor to other cheapo brands like Target.
Jerry Ford—The founder of Ford Models, Jerry Ford created the blueprint for model management and representation that turned pretty faces from passing names into multimillionaires and set the tone for IMG and many other agencies.
Lynn Kohlman—More than a model, Kohlman became a muse, photographer, and creative director in her own right. Working for Perry Ellis, she was an essential force behind the designs of DKNY and Tommy Hifiger as well.
6267—Roberto Rimondi and Tomasso Aquilano's young line was a critical favorite and sold well in small circles. Differences over direction with their backers saw the duo walk away from the beautiful brand, but they've promised to return to designing under a different label some time in the next year.
Yves Saint-Laurent—The line lives, but the man is gone. Yves Saint-Laurent bridged couture and sexy, forward-thinking style in a sleek French package. His death this year did nothing to diminish his influence on the lux market and European style.
All Purpose—A chic, omnisexual jewel in L.A.'s often staid retail scene, All Purpose, the store and brand, shuttered suddenly last month. The City of Angels is running out of places to shop.
Ruslana Korshunova—This model was a rising face on covers and catwalks, but her largest claim to fame was her death in June. Falling out of a window in a high-rise on Water Street, her demise was first suspicious, then sad as it underlined the alienation many foreign models feel working in the states.
Sigrid Olsen—This one wasn't by choice. Olsen, an American designer with a light, approachable touch, had put her 24-year-old business in the hands of Liz Claiborne Inc., which went ahead and shuttered the brand in a corporate streamlining process in January, forcing her into retirement.
Bettie Page—The "Dark Angel" of pin-up models, Betty Page combined fetish, kink, and all-American beauty in one curvy package that helped define the visual style of sex, kink, and fashion for over 60 years.
Alessandro Dell'Acqua—Like a good handful of Madison Avenue stores, Alessandro Dell'Acqua's American flagship closed under the burden of rent, even though the brand is still alive in Europe. Seems the retail gold coast of New York is suffering just like the rest of the country.
Imitation of Christ—Matt Damhave and Tara Subkoff's vintage sales engine grew into a sceneter fave, particularly after Chloë Sevigny joined the team. Side projects, delays, and a changing market put the brand off its tracks and it was bought out from under its founders, perhaps never to appear again.
Heatherette—The Rainbow-Brite club-kid line created by Trevor Rains and Richie Rich enjoyed infamy, a clique of followers, and some strong mall-based sales—but the wheels came off and both Rains and Rich are now working on new projects as a group of investors owns the company's name.
Polaroid Film—Perhaps the worst blow to art and style this year, Kodak finally stopped making and distributing the film for its much-beloved instant cameras. The photos were blown-out, beautiful bits of immediate gratification, and our parties will never be the same without them. Andy Warhol is crying in heaven.
Kira Plastinia—The 16-year-old scion of a Russian oligarch invaded America with clothes and a business model that seemed created by, well, the 16-year-old scion of a Russian oligarch. All this is to say that the saccharine, overpriced, immature fashions of this over-hyped celebutante couldn't even draw enough customers to pay back the construction firms that built her lavish stores, pushing the company into bankruptcy.
Té Casan—A lux shoe brand that made a gallant effort in marketing Natalie Portman's line of vegan footwear was rewarded with a death. Simply, they didn't have the downtown style to survive the crashing economy, nor the name recognition that would have brought in cash from the uptown crowd.
Sergio Rossi—The high-end Italian shoemaker looked at the downward twist in the U.S. economy, weighed its options, and closed all of its American retail stores. The brand still has a large consumer footprint in many better stores, but like so many brands, it no longer has a brick-and-mortar component here.
The Good, The Bad & The Ugly—After eight years, the salty and sweet boutique founded by Judi Rosen packed up shop. Rosen is still designing under the same brand name, but the beloved store on Kenmare is gone for good.
Built by Wendy—No, wait, it's not what you think. Wendy Mullin's mini-empire of oh-so-cute wears is still alive and well. Here brand extension to the West Coast, however, is over. Mullin closed all her stores in California to help streamline for the rough year ahead, even though her business here in the East continues to thrive.
Bureau—This smart, retro men's line opened and closed within the course of a year. We had high hopes, but apparently the designer and the backers conflicted and the house came falling down. It may come back, but it's still a sad story.
Otto Tootsi Plohound—A long time back, Otto and Tootsi Plohound marketed some very sharp footwear. In recent years, they veered over to the tacky. Whatever the case, the local chain with the most absurd name in the footwear biz has gone the way of all things.
DNR—The history of the men's clothing trade paper goes back 116 years—but this is not a sentimental industry. The market bible, which gave birth to WWD is now a supplement to that younger publication.
Shu Uemura—Creator of the beloved high-end makeup line, Uemura began his career as a Hollywood makeup artist. Combining Japanese tradition with Western consumerism, Uemura's brush sets are still among the most coveted.
Love Saves the Day—Two decades as a hippie fixture on the L.E.S. couldn't save "LSD" from going out of business. More of a curiosity shop than a real style outlet, Love Saves the Day will be missed for the genuine New York flavor it contributed to a increasingly more gentrified neighborhood.
Ouvrez la Porte—The upside of the continued ascendancy of Boerum Hill and other Brooklyn neighborhoods is better food, bars, and services. The downside is the culling of interesting little boutiques like Ouvrez la Porte.
Kim Johnson—The story of rising rents, continued gentrification, and lowered consumer resources killing yet another vintage-and-young-designer boutique just keeps happening again and again. This time, it was NoLita's Kim Johnson's turn.
Presse—In Los Angeles, Presse was truly unique and unusually tasteful and stylish. Even their online Rodarte sale and auction was forward thinking—outclassing local competitors by taking on the air of a retail exhibit. But in these rough times, the young store could not sustain such high aims.
Linda Dresner—One of the most influential and reliable retailers for top designers like Dries Van Noten, John Galliano, and Jil Sander closed last month. Again, it seems like even the higher end of the independent boutique market is under fire.
HollyWould—The line was both upscale and cheap—kind of like its lovable as its founder, Holly Dunlap. She tried to gain more financial support for the brand, but came up short and ultimately shuttered the house.
Dernier Cri—They were selling Surface 2 Air and Vivienne Westwood in the Meatpacking District before Scoop and the Standard moved in. Competition from the superior Jeffery and, yes, the economy, killed off this reliable retailer.
Woolworths—Maybe you don't think of Woolworths when you think of fashion, but generations of Americans outfitted themselves at this nationwide general store. Competing with the WalMarts and Targets of the world battered them severely, and the recession put them out of their misery last week.
Lounge—This mostly men's boutique was a longstanding presence in Soho, always making money by staying a year or so behind the newest trend. After announcing their closing over a month ago, they're still working on their final closing sale. We wish they would just die with grace already.
Bill Blass—Always a classy brand, upscale Bill Blass announced its own death two weeks ago. There's still some confusion, as its many good designers, Michael Bastain included, are still employed there and there is some talk of a bailout, but it seems like a goner at this point.
Whew, lil' depressing, hunh? Anyways, we're sure we missed a few notable passings. If so, use the comments below to speak out and leave your condolences while you're at it. Amen.