Two years ago, Camilla Al Fayed bought a majority share in the company and put it in global expansion mode. The brand recently opened a store in Japan and inked a collaboration deal with Banana Republic, which Helayel will still see through to completion--it hits stores August 6.
WWD cites industry sources who say the split was mutual and not surprising, as both Al Fayed and Helayel had been unhappy.
Helayel's departure must have been known about for a while, as Issa has already named her replacement: Blue Farrier, who's done stints with Phoebe Philo at Chloé, Stella McCartney, Sandro and Anya Hindmarch--all stylish, sophisticated brands with commercial appeal, not unlike Issa.
Issa CEO Angelina Ypma said:
I am [pleased] to welcome Blue as the new creative director of Issa at such an exciting time. Her vision and passion will be vital as we expand into new categories and markets and continue the development of Issa into a truly global lifestyle brand.
Helayel gave the following statement:
The time has come for me to move on to focus on my art, travel and other interests. Creating Issa has been one of the most rewarding things in my life. I may be leaving, but the Issa girl will live forever in my heart.
It will be interesting to see Issa's development into a "lifestyle brand," as seems to be the company's intention. Hopefully, it doesn't become too commercial along the way.