When we last checked in with failed retail chain C. Wonder in July, founder Chris Burch had sold the intellectual property rights, trademarks and related designs to Xcel Brands. The acquisition closed on Thursday for $12.5 million in a combination of cash and stock. (For context, Burch reportedly lost $70 million of his own money on the company before it filed for bankruptcy in January.)
So what will Xcel do with the newest addition to its fashion roster, which also includes Judith Ripka, Isaac Mizrahi and Liz Claiborne New York? C. Wonder, like those brands, will launch on QVC in spring 2016. And leading the label into this new chapter is none other than the opinionated stylist Brad Goreski, who will take on the dual role of creative director and on-air personality at QVC.
Goreski is certainly TV-ready: he made his small screen debut on Bravo's "The Rachel Zoe Project" before spinning off into his own show, "It's a Brad, Brad World." He joined E!'s "Fashion Police" as a co-host in early 2015. His many celebrity styling clients include Jessica Alba, Rashida Jones and Sarah Hyland.
The partnership marks Goreski's biggest foray into design so far. He started styling for Kate Spade in 2011, focusing on campaigns and fashion presentations, and will continue to do so — the brand confirmed he will be styling the spring 2016 show. For C.Wonder, it's unclear if Goreski will be doing much more than styling collections and selling them on air. Xcel has an in house team of over 70 designers that work on all of its labels.
Although Burch's C. Wonder was a full lifestyle brand with a large home decor category, the first QVC collection will only include apparel, accessories and jewelry. Prices will range from $29 for knit tops to $248 for leather handbags. Housewares and gifts will debut at some unknown point in the future.
As for the brand's aesthetic, Xcel says it will build on C. Wonder's signature whimsical DNA with "a spirited and personal collection filled with luxurious details and happy surprises." Goreski's experience infusing Kate Spade's own preppy whimsy with youthful cool will prove applicable, though the market — QVC's audience of 340 million homes worldwide — and price points are radically different.