Confirming speculation, Narciso Rodriguez and Liz Claiborne just announced plans to terminate their partnership. The deal marks the first time Rodriguez will operate without a parent company. Claiborne bought a 50 percent stake in the Rodriguez label in 2007 from Aeffe SpA. Neither Rodriguez nor Claiborne CEO William L. McComb would discuss the financial terms of the deal, but industry folk speculate Rodriguez will buy back Claiborne's stake at the price they paid of $12 million. However, where Rodriguez will come up with that kind of cash remains unclear. He told WWD that before Claiborne invested, he struggled financially and Donna Karan used to send over rolls of fabric to help out.
Claiborne was excited to have a luxury label under its umbrella when it bought a stake in Rodriguez last year, but they had different ideas about how to grow the brand. Rodriguez told WWD, "We did not find enough common grounds and jointly have concluded that the Narciso Rodriguez brand could be developed more effectively outside of this partnership.” But the breakup seems amicable. Claiborne plans to support a smooth transition in part by producing and shipping Rodriguez's critically acclaimed spring collection without delay. Aw.