The fashion world is in mourning today after the shock confirmation yesterday that the house of Rochas, led to great acclaim by designer Olivier Theyskens for the past three years, is to close. A spokeswoman for Procter & Gamble, which owns the French fashion label, said yesterday 30 workers in Paris has been informed of a shutdown plan ?but declined to elaborate except to say that the autumn/winter 2006-7 collection would still be delivered. Founded by Marcel Rochas in 1924, the company existed only as a fragrance house after his death in 1955. It was revived by Wella, which made the classic Rochas Femme scent, in 1990 with Peter O'Brien in the position of creative director. Since Theyskens, who won the International Award at the CFDA awards this year, took over in 2003, Rochas has become one of the most impressive collections on the ready-to-wear calendar, with the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker and Kirsten Dunst showing their support by wearing it on the red carpet in recent months. While the financial state of the company was not revealed yesterday, it is thought to have still been loss-making despite Theyskens' burgeoning success ?and as a beauty company, it is unsurprising that Procter & Gamble have eventually shirked the added responsibility of a fashion empire ?even one that grew 30 per cent last year. "It was one of the hottest businesses on the floor," said Julie Gilhart, fashion director of Barneys, New York. "Olivier took an unknown brand and made it one of the most desirable ones in fashion in a short amount of time." Anna Wintour, too, is sad to see Rochas go - but hopeful that the Theyskens star will continue to rise. "It's an enormous shame," she said yesterday. "Olivier is one of our brightest young talents on an international platform. He has taken enormous care to build that brand in a slow and methodical way so that the fashion customer totally understands what the Rochas signature looks are." So where will he go next? Watch this space.
(July 19 2006, AM) Dolly Jones from www.vogue.co.uk
It truly is the saddest news this season. How could businessmen ruin a house like Rochas, yet also an uncompromising talent like Theyskens?!