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The Life of the Lovely “Liz Red”
Liz Claiborne was actually born as Anne Elizabeth Jane Claiborne in Belgium in March of 1929. She was raised in New Orleans, but she was able to return to Europe in order to receive some art experience. Some of the places that she went to study art is Belgium and France. She would go to different painting studios in order to study. These artistic influences inspired her to go into the fashion industry.
Claiborne was honored with the Jacques Heim National Design which was presented by Harper’s Bazaar. This was a huge honor, especially because almost the entire fashion industry was dominated by male designers. She was only in her early twenties and this would be the first of many rewards that the designer would receive. Then she went to Seventh Avenue in New York City in order to live out her dream. After working in New York City for other designers for years, she started her self-named company in 1976. The brand experienced stardom and success immediately. The first year produced over two million worth of sales in the first year alone. One of the things that she is known for is her love for red. It got her the nick name, “Liz Red”.
Liz Claiborne Inc. experienced some major expansions during the 80’s. In 1986, they released a signature scent in September. It is now considered an iconic fragrance of the time. The perfume came in a bright yellow bottle and was a big hit amongst all the high school girls. This is only one of the fragrances that the designer would release, but the signature scent was probably the most famous. She made history when her company made the, “Fortune 500” list. It was the first company that was found by a woman to make the list. Another thing that Liz did that made history was requesting that her collection would stay together when it hit the department stores. This differed from previous times, where department stores would be split up based off of the type of clothing ie. Pants, tops, etc…This revolutionized department stores and how we shop today.
Liz Claiborne’s style was not always over the top or glamorous. She designed realistic clothing that the average woman could wear, even if they were going to work. She set out to prove women that just because they were working, it didn’t mean like that had to look like a drag. Her reasonable prices also made her clothing a realistic option for a variety of women.
By the end of the 80’s, she managed to open almost 20 different independent Liz Claiborne stores. They were placed in medium-to-high end malls that were located in the suburbs. The stand-alone stores contributed to the company’s success because it allowed the brand to learn more about market trends. It also gave the brand an opportunity to directly interact with their customers and clients.
Despite the fact that her company experienced immense success, she decided to walk away from management in order to pursue some of her other personal goals. She created a fund for environmental causes and it was a huge success. The foundation has distributed millions and millions of dollars to different conservatory projects around the world. Despite the fact that her foundation was flourishing, Liz Claiborne Inc started to experience some financial hard ships in the 90’s. In June of 2007, she sadly passed away after battling cancer for numerous years. A year later JC Penny made an announcement to the public that they would become the exclusive retailer for the Liz Claiborne brand.
The company remains a success, but has had a hard time achieving as much as they did when Liz ran the brand.