There are big changes at America’s most overtly Jewish fashion line. Gela Nash-Taylor and Pamela Skaist-Levy, founders of Juicy Couture, are stepping down as creative directors — leaving the company in the hands of its parent company, Liz Claiborne, which bought Juicy three years ago. The buzz is that Nash-Taylor and Skaist-Levy, both Jewish, aren’t thrilled with the direction Liz Claiborne has been taking company, and decided it was time to leave their brand behind.
While Jews have never been strangers with the fashion business, Juicy is the first line that felt Jewish. A 180-degree turn from Ralph Lauren’s (né Lifshitz) adoption of the WASP lifestyle, Juicy represented a flashy and flamboyant full-on embrace of the newly-moneyed JAP lifestyle. The culmination of this, likely being their 2007 Juicy American Princess advertising campaign, which Sisterhood contributor Rebecca Honig Friedman wrote about here.
The Juicy line rose to fame during the late 1990s with their once-ubiquitous velour tracksuits — form-fitting glamorized sweats that simultaneously messaged comfort and wealth. Plus, they gave zaftig bodies a little wiggle room. As the tracksuits have become largely passé, the collection features clothing and accessories that are decidedly girly and loud. (Sequined halter or hot-pink charm necklace, anyone?)
Fashion sites are reporting that Juicy’s cultural era is over, that Liz Claiborne’s attempt to make the company more upscale failed, and that department stores are cutting back on the real estate given to the line.