Bra startup True&Co sold to Calvin Klein owner PVH

True&Co., an e-commerce company founded with the mission of disrupting the lingerie industry by creating a new business model for selling bras and other undergarments, has been sold. Phillips Van Heusen (PVH), owner of Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Izod, among other iconic brands, has acquired the startup and plans to use it to move deeper into online sales and big data analytics connected to that.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but sources with direct knowledge of the deal said investors mostly got their money back, but nothing more. The deal value was in the “tens of millions.” True&Co had raised a reported $13 million from a strong list of investors that included Crosslink Capital, Cowboy Ventures, First Round, SoftBank, SoftTech VC and the VTF (fomerly the Vegas Tech Fund).

We’ve reached out to PVH — which has operations in 40 countries and last year made $8 billion in annual revenues — to see if we can get any details or confirmation on the price. We have yet to hear back from PVH. Michelle Lam, the co-founder and CEO of the company, replied to our questions with a short description of today as “an amazing day for the company.”  A True&Co spokesperson declined to give any details on the price but did confirm that the brand would remain.

In the meantime, PVH’s CEO and chairman, Emanuel Chirico, noted in a statement that the deal underscores the company’s interest in doing more on digital platforms.

“Today’s announcement illustrates our commitment to driving innovation across our business and demonstrates our commitment to making strategic investments in our digital platforms to support our long-term growth initiatives,” he said. “We believe that we can leverage the analytics tools of this data-driven company, while leveraging PVH’s intimates category expertise, including global brand management, product know-how and supply chain.”

True&Co., founded in 2012, was one of the earlier movers in the wave of vertically integrated e-commerce startups that use technology to move into and disrupt traditionally non-tech areas of business. Others in the world of fashion have included Warby Parker, but you could also count the multitude of on-demand startups like Uber and the Dollar Shave Club among those following the same concept. (Some of course do better than others.)

Bras are a particularly challenging area because even in a physical retail environment, it can be tricky to get the right fit.

While some other bra startups, such as ThirdLove, use your cameraphone plus questions to measure and figure out your contours and sizes, True&Co’s model was based on a “bra quiz” that asks you some questions based on a bra that you already own and some basics about how you look.

 Using data that it holds about well-known bra brands, and your own feedback on the size that you own, it figures out what would be a good bra for you. It then sends you five bras that fit the bill and you pay for what you want, and send back what you do not.

It seems that while the company definitely attracted attention — some 5 million women tried out its bra quiz — it’s not clear how many of those actually converted into paying customers.

Whatever the state of True&Co’s business was by the time of its exit, one interesting opportunity going forward will be in how PVH leverages the startup’s platform to help sell its other brands.

Calvin Klein has an extensive line of underwear, and among PVH’s other holdings are Warner and Olga, two other top names in the world of lingerie, and Speedo, a swimwear and active wear brand. It seems likely that these will either augment or replace True&Co’s existing line of products with these for better economies of scale, or have the True team create True-like experiences for these brands individually.

Olivier Rousteing Puts Balmain Men’s Wear on the Runway

PARIS — Outside the gates of the Hôtel Potocki in the Eighth Arrondissement, they lined up by the dozen, iPhones raised, recording, waiting.

Men’s fashion week, unlike its sister week for women, doesn’t often break into the public consciousness. The celebrities are fewer here, the awareness slighter. Apart from a few N.B.A. players popping up with Whac-a-Mole regularity (Amar’e Stoudemire and Russell Westbrook most often), the scene has been quiet, and Paris has gone about its civilian business unperturbed.

But Olivier Rousteing, the young, well-connected and newly famous designer of Balmain, has a way of making a splash. It’s not long ago that he appeared, nude and toned, on the cover of Têtu, one of the main gay magazines here. He is a friend of celebrities (most publicly, the extended Kardashian/West clan), and on Instagram, where his exploits are followed by 1.1 million, he is a celebrity himself.

Mr. Rousteing’s women’s shows are the sort that fill the air with teenage screams and that block traffic. His men’s collection has, to date, been shown more quietly, by appointment or in small, static presentations. But this past weekend, Mr. Rousteing decided to stage his first full-scale runway show for men (and for a few women, wearing his resort collection). His fans were there to watch, even if only from behind the barricades and the gates.

Balmain, he said before the show, is in part “the story of friendship.”

“We build this Balmain world and Balmain army because we all love each other and we just want to be part of it,” he continued.

He was speaking specifically about the models he had befriended and the friends he had made models (including, in this show, the socialite Peter Brant II). But he meant, too, the masses waiting outside to catch a glimpse, whether of Alessandra Ambrosio, who walked in the show, or Kris Jenner, who watched it. They have been avid supporters of his in a way that the establishment fashion news media has not always been.

Mr. Rousteing’s aesthetic may be divisive among the critics, but it is apparently less so among retailers. The men’s wear in particular, Mr. Rousteing said, now accounts for 40 percent of Balmain’s business. The collection he showed was a safari-inspired mélange of complicated craftsmanship (with rope details and spangles) and rough-and-tumble khaki (albeit in luxurious suede and skins).

“I just wanted to have an explorer, a new aventurier,” Mr. Rousteing said by way of explanation. The Union Jack of the British flag was a motif that appeared several times. In February, Mr. Rousteing opened a Balmain store in London, the brand’s first stand-alone boutique outside of Paris. More stores in other cities are to come.

Whether or not everyone thrills to his drop-crotch pleated trousers, double-layer shorts and gladiator sandals is mostly beside the point. Mr. Rousteing’s maximalist bravado has found a fan base, and there should be much here that will set cash registers ringing.

He remains unflinchingly committed to his work, and he takes to the runway after his shows with the aplomb and unshakable assurance of Ms. Ambrosio.

“I want to be happy in five years when I look at this,” he said of the collection. “I try to really be confident with myself. This world sometimes can be really wild with me. I’m trying to protect myself and be strong.”

3 Cool Fashion Jobs You Never Knew Existed—and How to Get Them

Thousands of people dream about a career in fashion, but those dreams usually revolve around becoming a stylist, designer, or editor. But the U.S. apparel market is worth more than $225 billion, so it’s a given that there are hundreds of different types of jobs that keep the machine humming along—most of which you’ve probably never thought about thanks to the fact that they’re more behind the scenes than, say, a top magazine editor.

Here, we spoke with three real fashion professionals to find out what working in the industry really looks like.

Melissa Marks

Name: Melissa Marks

Job title: Business development manager at designer shopping site Farfetch

What does your job involve? I am responsible for helping to research and identify fashion specialty boutiques throughout the U.S. and Canada. In addition I develop and assist in managing relationships with all the top boutiques in North America currently on the Farfetch platform.

I work extremely close with the account managers on strategy and communication, focusing on growth opportunities for our boutiques. I work directly with the SVP of brand and business development, assisting her with new business partnerships.

What does an average day at work look like for you? An average day will sometimes start with an early call with our London office (where our global team is located), followed by a check in with my boss in New York, where we share updates about our territories and discuss any global news.

Then it’s usually back-to-back calls with prospective boutiques and checking in with our existing boutiques, communicating important news and strategizing with them.

What were you doing before this job and what experience did you need to land this role? I was working for a contemporary menswear line , primarily working with all types of wholesale accounts. Learning to communicate with various retailers, including department stores and specialty boutiques, helped tremendously in my transition to Farfetch. I started as an account manager here and worked my way up to a manager position in business development.

My existing relationships with our boutiques, and understanding of the luxury fashion business, are extremely valuable for this role. It also helps if you have an understanding of the tech side of our business, and logistics and operations.
What has been your career highlight so far? My career highlight is being part of the tremendous growth from the beginning, that Farfetch has accomplished over a short period of time, and how this growth has positively impacted each of our specialty stores’ businesses.

What qualifications do you have? Account management and sales experience, luxury product knowledge, existing relationships with high-end/specialty boutiques, communication skills, attention to detail, multi-tasker, and self-motivation.

What did you want to be when you were in school? I was focused on being in fashion PR, so I interned for different agencies every summer while I was in college. When I graduated, I ended up taking a position in wholesale for a menswear line and quickly learned that sometimes you learn new aspects of an industry that you didn’t know you’d enjoy!

What are your future career ambitions? My manager always says I should want her job–or at least something close to it–so I’m going with that but, since being in e-commerce for the past four years, I couldn’t imagine not being a part of a fashion-tech company.

What’s your piece of advice for anyone wanting to land a job like yours? Always look for opportunities to network and relationship build. Whether it’s an industry party or a friend’s get together, you never know who you’ll meet or what opportunities you’ll find.

Sigrún Eva Jónsdóttir

Name: Sigrún Eva Jónsdóttir

Job title: Fit model, Wilhelmina NYC

What does your job involve? Fit modeling for luxury brands, including Rag & Bone. A fit model’s the person a fashion designer uses to measure the drape and visual appearance of a new piece on a person.

What does an average day at work look like for you? I work with the design team as they try samples on me and make adjustments or changes to the garments. This usually involves a lot of pinning, and standing for long periods of time.

The job is actually harder than it sounds–your body gets all stiff and tired after standing still for hours. It can also be very interesting though, and it’s fun to be a part of the designing process and see all the work and thought that goes into just one piece.

What were you doing before this job and what experience did you need to land this role? I have been modeling full time for the last four years, doing everything from runway, to commercial work, but the fitting job just kind of happened organically.

The designers saw that the clothes looked great on me so they wanted to use me for fit, too. Before modeling I was at home in Iceland just finishing school and busing tables at a restaurant.

What has been your career highlight so far? Having jeans named after me is pretty cool!

What qualifications do you have? Being in the game for four years, making mistakes, learning from them and constantly growing.

What did you want to be when you were in school? I wanted to get into journalism, travel and report from conflict zones. I also just wanted to travel and see the world in general, which modeling has been great for.

What are your future career ambitions? My modeling career dream is a nice beauty contract and even to get into film more. I also decided to get a real estate license recently.

What’s your piece of advice for anyone wanting to land a job like yours? Well it’s a tough one, because when it comes to fit modeling it’s really important that your body is the specific measurements that a particular brand is looking for. The best way to start is by reaching out to a modeling agency.

Michael Castellano

Name: Michael Castellano

Job title: Senior CAD Designer at Gap Inc./Banana Republic

What does your job involve? Working closely with the menswear design team to create seasonally appropriate prints, yarn dyes, stripes and graphics.

What does an average day at work look like for you? First thing is coffee as I catch up on my blogs and emails. Then, I review all strike-offs (test pieces of fabric) that are shipped from factories to check color and print consistency and make comments.

Then I usually touch base with specific design teams (e.g., wovens, knits, sweaters) to start working on prints and patterns for the season. Later in the day I’ll start building artwork either by doodling or going straight into digital form.

What were you doing before this job and what experience did you need to land this role? I’ve been at Banana Republic my whole career. The summer after college I was mostly doing random graphic design freelance jobs here and there. Then started freelancing at Banana Republic during fall 2007 and never left!

What has been your career highlight so far? Learning from everyone in the brand–no matter how big or small the nugget of knowledge is, it all adds up. Accolades and achievements come and go. Skills and knowledge you keep forever.

What qualifications do you have? Any designer will tell you that you must have an overall good aesthetic. I also think it’s super important to not be a one-trick pony. I try to always learn new things whether it be keeping current on new print techniques or learning new design software. Basically, fill up your tool belt with as many talents as possible. You never know what you may need to lean on tomorrow.

What did you want to be when you were in school? In college a graphic designer. In high school an architect. In elementary school a navy seal.

What are your future career ambitions? All I ever want to do as a designer is work on cool garments that people feel compelled to buy and wear. When you nail that graphic or print it feels awesome.

What’s your piece of advice for anyone wanting to land a job like yours? Work hard, stay humble, fuel your creativity with new skills and approaches to working and always be yourself. You can’t go wrong.

The 18 Essentials Every California Girl Owns

There’s something effortlessly cool about California style. It could be the constant sunshine or maybe the bohemian history that makes girls from the Golden State seem so chic and carefree; but whatever it is, we want to bring some of that breeziness to our wardrobes too. So, we did a little digging to break down exactly what it is about these beach babes that makes us crave their style.

Turns out, it’s the fact that they are surprisingly polished, though it never feels like they try too hard to create a great outfit. They can do sexy without ever showing too much skin, and while they prefer jeans and a casual tee, they can make even the most low-key look feel totally put-together.

So we’re embracing our inner Best (um, West) Coaster with the style essentials it seems that no California girl can live without. Floaty dresses, functionally fashionable layering pieces, and simply chic accessories come together to prove that when it comes to effortless outfits, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Read on for 18 wardrobe must haves that are guaranteed to help you up your outfit game, California style.

Review: ‘Killer Heels’ exhibit is a world of fashion and fetishes

“Beaded High-Heeled Boots” by Jamie Okuma are drop-dead gorgeous examples of the intersection between art and functional design.

“Aeronaut Pilot of Survivor Ship Armada, Decision” is an installation by Virgil Ortiz in the “Killer Heels” show.

When TV’s Ed Sullivan greeted viewers he often said “Tonight we have a really big shoe” or at least that’s the way it sounded.

The Albuquerque Museum’s “Killer Heels – The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe” exhibition is a really big show, or as Sullivan put it, “shoe.”

With more than 160 pairs of historic, high-fashion, kitsch and far-beyond-the-real-world shoe designs and videos, “Killer Heels” is a knock-down-drag-out romp through the world of fashion, fetishes, feelings and foolishness guaranteed to entertain and maybe even edify escapees from the dog days of summer.

This traveling collection, originally from the Brooklyn Museum and enhanced by the Albuquerque Museum, is an enveloping and seductive exhibition of functional and nonfunctional sculpture that revels in the art-in-the-dark museum mandate of low light levels to preserve delicate art objects. The subdued illumination creates by default a romantically mysterious mood throughout the installation.

“Blessed” by Albuquerque artist Goldie Garcia is a vintage shoe transformed by the designer in 2015 into a work of art unlikely to ever be worn again.

Exhibition designer Tom Antreasian opens the show with a boffo monumental-scale pair of highly stylized upswept red heels that morph into a Pueblo pottery-inspired geometric black-and-white stripe-patterned platform that holds a mini-installation titled “Aeronaut Pilot of Survivor Ship Armada, Decision” 2015 by New Mexico’s own Virgil Ortiz.

Ortiz’ sculptural arrangement features a seated female figure representing a participant in the 1680 Pueblo revolt who has been magically transported to the year 2180. Apparently, Ortiz’ fantasy figure is deciding which of Ortiz’ over-the-top ceramic shoes to wear.

Though this may seem farfetched, Ortiz’ projection of Pueblo fashion to the year 2180 is actually the perfect introduction to the exhibition that only gets wilder.

Once inside the “pump”-and-circumstance-filled galleries the viewer is shown the history of both male and female high-heeled shoe design. The royal courts of Europe witnessed male usage of high heels going back to Hyacinthe Riguad’s 1710 portrait of Louis XIV resplendent in tights and red heels ready to wield his foppish powers.

But female shoes dominate the overall exhibition, which ranges from more businesslike designs as seen in Nicholas Kirkwood’s suede “Pumps” enhanced with gold and clear crystals to Goldie Garcia’s “Blessed,” a 2015 remake of vintage shoes wonderfully embellished with sequins, glitter, photographs, bottle caps and found objects.

Albuquerque’s own Jamie Okuma wades into the fray with “Beaded High-Heeled Boots” from 2011 that are just drop-dead gorgeous. The sheer beauty of their artistry may make one take a step back from actually wearing them but they remain in the functional realm.

Not so with Christian Louboutin’s “Pumps” from 2007. Louboutin has added extreme heels to toe shoes without the toe padding one might find in ballet shoes. The resulting vertical design should be dubbed “Prelude to a Broken Ankle,” to paraphrase Marcel Duchamp.

But Julian Hakes’ “Mojito” of 2012, though beautifully sculpted, also are a podiatrist’s dream come true. The graceful spiral of these otherwise wearable heels offers zero arch support.

“Beyond Wilderness” by Iris van Herpen is an organic extravaganza featured in the metamorphosis section of “Killer Heels — The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe” at the Albuquerque Museum.

The show is divided into the categories renewal and reinterpretation, rising in the East, glamor and fetish, architecture, metamorphosis and spacewalk that allow blocks of related designs to be displayed together.

That said, Cinderella would have to choose between “Shutter Heels” by Winde Rienstra in the architecture section or “Glass Slippers” by Maison Martin Margiela in the metamorphosis area, for her evening at the palace.

Cinderella aside, Rienstra also designed “Bamboo Heel” featuring black cable ties as straps for foot retention. Give me a break.

Of course there are winged shoes to honor Mercury, flame shoes for Hades by Prada and feathered shoes to make you fly, but when you land you may don “Beyond Wilderness,” an organic extravaganza designed by Iris van Herpen in 2013.

This is one wild and crazy ride through the world of fashion and beyond. Get indoors to see it before sunstroke sets in. You will not be disappointed. Once again our city museum has done a beautiful job.

Business of fashion on strict catwalk – Women stars push the limits of Wimbledon dress code

London, June 29: The dress code may be notoriously strict but as the world’s best women tennis players exit the Wimbledon locker room this week their dresses will be both catwalk statement and rebellion.

Centre Court fashion seems not to have moved on much for men since Fred Perry, the British three-time Wimbledon champion, launched his now classic polo shirt in 1952. For the ladies, however, the specially designed Wimbledon dress is now a major talking, and selling, point.

Caroline Wozniacki, the former world number one, will lead the way in a dress by Stella McCartney.

Her Adidas Barricade dress features a cutting-edge mesh while the yellow strip on the shorts is designed to force the notoriously prickly Wimbledon judges to consult their rulebook.

The regulations demanding all-white clothing apart from a 1cm wide trim led to complaints last year from Wozniacki and other women of “creepy” knicker inspectors and reports that some players had been forced not to wear a bra.

In response, the players have pushed the rules to their limits.

Wozniacki, ranked number five, is scheduled to open her Wimbledon campaign against China’s Zheng Saisai tomorrow. She admits that despite being one of the world’s top sportswomen, fashion still matters on court.

“If I feel good on court then it’s one less thing to worry about. It gives me confidence and the freedom to really focus on my game,” she said.

The need for the design to be suitable for the gruelling environment of the tennis court has meant the player working closely with McCartney.

“I have regular fittings throughout the season where we have the chance to see how the design fits, and an opportunity to test it out on the practice courts,” she said.

Wozniacki, 24, has insisted she will be fit for Wimbledon despite retiring on Friday with a back problem during the semi-final of the Aegon International.

Wimbledon’s enforcement of all-white outfits has been criticised by some commentators but remains popular among players.

“We get to wear a lot of bright colours during the year on tour, so it’s actually nice to wear something classic on court,” said Wozniacki.

The Wimbledon dress is lucrative for sportswear companies, with copies of Wozniacki’s outfit available for £90 (around Rs 9,000).

Ana Ivanovic, the Serbian ranked number seven, will wear Adidas’s Fall All Premium dress, featuring spaghetti straps crisscrossed in the back.

Venus Williams, the American five-time Wimbledon singles champion, has designed her own dress. The Fleur Du Monde Wimbledon dress, featuring a “racer” back and traditional scoop neck, is available from the player’s EleVen clothing company for $96 (around Rs 6,000).

Jelena Jankovic, the Serbian ranked 29, is the top representative for Fila and will wear the Spring Lawn dress with mesh inserts on both front and back.

Marija Zivlak, author of the Women’s Tennis Blog, said: “Even within the strict confines of Wimbledon rules, there still is a lot of room for creativity and experiments.”

Looking good was not a requirement in the late 19th century when women had to wear full-length skirts. There was an outcry in 1905 when May Sutton Bundy, the first American to win the women’s singles championship, pulled back her cuffs to reveal her wrists.