Claire Rubinstein laments the closure of Juicy Couture’s US stores
When I heard the news that the clothing brand Juicy Couture – famed for the much maligned rhinestone bedazzled tracksuits – had shut down all its US Stores at the end of last week I was somewhat surprised.
Founded in Pacoima, California in 1997 by Gela Nash (who is married to Duran Duran’s John Taylor) and Pamela Skaist-Levy (who started off selling maternity jeans under the label Travis Jeans), Juicy Couture was created as a self-proclaimed “glamorous, irreverent and fun lifestyle brand for the decidedly fashionable”.
By 2003, the label had been acquired by Fifth & Pacific Inc. and in the mid 2000’s The New York Times reported that the company, which had been built from a $200 startup, had grown to a $51 million concern with high end stores such as Bergdorf Goodman, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Harrods and Selfridges stocking it alongside numerous Juicy Couture standalone stores.
Arguably one of the defining fashion trends of the last decade, Juicy was a joyous, breezy equivalent of a Savile Row suit for the boldly unapologetic non-working woman. A kind of outdoor pyjama, it was perfect for a post-party hangover and easily accessorized with a tiny dog, giant bucket of Starbucks or, dare we say it, a secret va-jazzling. This was a label that bridged all ages and demographics – Chelsea met Essex and became Chessex thanks to a mutual love of velour and sparkles. The roll call of Juicy devotees shows just that diversity: Stateside early-adopters were Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, the Desperate Housewives and even Madonna. Over the pond, a legion of Juicy Girls advanced across the nation. Our climate may have dampened the velour hemlines but not our spirits as we embraced the brand which (rather like Barbie) offered a whole dream lifestyle – everything from Juicy pushchairs and changing bags to pet accessories, perfume, watches, shoes, underwear and charm bracelets.
Here in Chelsea there is an unwritten rule that such leisurewear should not be worn beyond late morning: acceptable morning school run attire but ladies who lunch dress for lunch. It would not do to fall into the dark side of the trend – the all day leisure-lover and all the dubious connotations that brought with.
Perhaps it is this backlash that is Juicy’s unwitting legacy. One has to ask if this brand has spawned a nation of pyjama’d narcoleptics falling out of bed and sleep-walking to the nearest Tesco to pick up a ready-meal and alcopops before settling into a cosy routine of daytime TV and Candy Crush? I think not. Juicy will always have a special place in my heart (and in my wardrobe).
California dreaming: I may not have been driving a convertible to my Malibu beach house or enjoying an early morning soy latte in the Hollywood Hills but I sure felt a little piece of me was “Born In The Glamorous USA” (as the label says) when I was a Juicy Girl.
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