Fifth & Pacific Sells Juicy Couture for $195 Million: A Look Back at the Brand

Fifth & Pacific has decided to sell Juicy Couture to Authentic Brands Group for $195 million. Although they were the company's top selling brand last year, Fifth & Pacific is instead turning its attention to its thriving Kate Spade brand. Juicy Couture, the contemporary women's wear line, was made famous in the early 2000s when every kind of woman, from teenage girl to housewife, dressed themselves in the brand's signature velour tracksuits. Here, a look back at the highs and lows of this once popular "couture" company.

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Fifth & Pacific has decided to sell Juicy Couture to Authentic Brands Group for $195 million. Although they were the company's top selling brand last year, Fifth & Pacific is instead turning its attention to its thriving Kate Spade brand. Juicy Couture, the contemporary women's wear line, was made famous in the early 2000s when every kind of woman, from teenage girl to housewife, dressed themselves in the brand's signature velour tracksuits. Here, a look back at the highs and lows of this once popular "couture" company.

The Beginning

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In 1995, L.A.-based friends Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor decided to create a fashion line together to sell maternity pants. They named it Travis Jeans, which they would quickly change to Juicy Couture in 1996. Instead of just selling denim and t-shirts, the duo hoped to create a "girlie" luxury brand, specializing in athletic and casual wear at an affordable price. Levy and Taylor started Juicy Couture with $200 each. In the first year of business, they made $1 million and found buyers at big department stores Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's.

Celebrity Following

In 2001, Levy and Taylor sent Madonna a customized Juicy tracksuit. Soon after, celebrities everywhere were spotted donning the velour sweats, from Gwyneth Paltrow to the most notable of Juicy Couture's famous supporters, Jennifer Lopez. She even rocked one in the music video for her hit song "I'm Real." From there, it became a huge fashion sensation.

The Juicy Revolution

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In 2002, the company made $47 million in sales. The following year, Fifth & Pacific, formerly known as Liz Claiborne Inc., acquired Juicy for more than $230 million. Juicy Couture was at its peak popularity. Women of all ages embraced the company's California cool style, taking terry and velour suits outside of the home and into the streets as one of the biggest trends of the decade. Juicy Couture expanded their line to include jewelry, cosmetics, handbags and children's clothing — all of which were successful ventures. The company flourished throughout the 2000s, and was even reported to have sold $258 million in the first six months of 2008 in face of the recession. Juicy Couture opened 80 storefronts around the world.

The Downfall

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By 2010, retailers began to drop the line from their stores, citing their designs were "stale" and that the sweatsuits were "ill-fitting." According to WWD, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, Bergdorf Goodman, Lord & Taylor and Neiman Marcus all had either cut back on carrying Juicy or had dropped the line from their stores completely.

The Hopeful Buyback

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Earlier this year, founders Gela Nash-Taylor and Pamela Skaist-Levy reached out to private equity firms in hopes of finding an investor to help them buy back their beloved company. This began after rumors swirled that Fifth & Pacific were in talks of selling the brand. Unfortunately, their dreams would never realize. But Mary Epner, head of Mary Epner Retail Analysis, told WWD that she believed consumers are still interested in athletic apparel. "They run around all day long in Lululemon. That’s what Juicy used to be. Can someone stay in the same vein and update the look for 2014? That’s the question.”