Why Liz Claiborne Inc. is Rebranding to Fifth & Pacific


The Liz Claiborne brand name was sold in November to J.C. Penney so it was inevitable that its parent company, Liz Claiborne Inc., would shed the brand from its name. The inevitable is now official. The 34-year-old fashion company is changing its name to Fifth & Pacific Companies, and will start trading under the ticker symbol FNP in mid-May, in addition to replacing its zippy liz.com corporate domain with fifthandpacific.com.

Claiborne unloaded its Mexx brand in September and then sold its namesake brand to J.C. Penney, along with its Monet brand, two months later for $267.5 million. It also got rid of its Kensie and Dana Buchman brands this fall as it attempted to right its own financial ship. Now FNP is left with three core brands in Juicy Couture, Lucky Brand, Kate Spade, and a sibling in the mens fashion/accessory brand of Jack Spade line, to focus on.

The new corporate identity may recall Gap’s Forth & Towne, Gilt’s Park & Bond, and Nordstrom’s Treasure & Bond, but CEO William McComb argues that the name is a perfect synthesis of the east coast/west coast stable of brands, as it’s “where California cool meets New York chic.”[more]

“While it’s difficult to replace an iconic name like Liz Claiborne, we believe that Fifth & Pacific Companies telegraphs who we are today — taking inspiration from New York and California, while describing our reach and our potential,” McComb said in a statement. A company spokesperson confirmed that the Liz Claiborne Foundation is also being renamed as part of the rebranding.

As AP notes, the three core brands are aimed toward higher-end customers, a smart move because “Wealthier consumers are spending more freely than middle- and low-income shoppers as economic uncertainty continues to cast a shadow on U.S. consumer spending.”

The company’s chief creative officer, Project Runway guru Tim Gunn, is taking on additional TV duties by co-hosting a new ABC daytime talkshow, The Revolution, starting January 16th. Gunn, who last year appeared in ads for Weight Watchers, told Glamour that he’s also contemplating designing a plus-size fashion line — which Fifth & Pacific would no doubt be interested to contemplate, too.

Find out more on the thinking behind the new corporate identity below: