Fashion Scoops: Next Step… Rumblings At Leiber… New Deal…

NexCen Brands Inc., which is mired in financial difficulties, has hired Rothschild as its investment adviser, according to industry sources.

NEXT STEP: NexCen Brands Inc., which is mired in financial difficulties, has hired Rothschild as its investment adviser, according to industry sources. Rothschild is expected to help NexCen decide which of its assets, such as Bill Blass or Waverly, it needs to sell, and to help find buyers. Officials at Rothschild didn't return a call, and a NexCen spokesman had no comment. Industry executives have been buzzing all week about NexCen's financial woes, and sources believe a sale of Bill Blass could be a first step to stave off a near-term financial disaster. Sources believe Robert D'Loren's days as NexCen's chief executive officer could be numbered, as well.

RUMBLINGS AT LEIBER: Could big changes be on the horizon at Leiber? Sources speculate that the firm, formerly known as Judith Leiber, has taken on a new investor to help with international expansion. In February, the Pegasus Capital Advisors-owned company inked distribution agreements to open stores in India and the Middle East. There also are plans to move into Southeast Asia and Russia. Meanwhile, executives may be shuffling as the firm already has lost its vice president of marketing and public relations, Michelle Gallagher. A representative for Leiber could not be reached for comment.

NEW DEAL: Fashion jewelry company Bing Bang is partnering with Urban Outfitters on a lower-priced line called Bee 23, making its debut for fall exclusively at the contemporary retailer. According to insiders, Bing Bang's goal is to reach a new customer without lowering the value of its namesake collection. Neither company could be reached for comment.

PARIS MEETS SOHO: Comptoir des Cotonniers, the Paris-based sportswear brand that's part of Fast Retailing, the Tokyo-based retail group that also owns Uniqlo, is set to land in New York. The brand, which is known for featuring real-life mothers and daughters in its campaigns, will open a 1,000-square-foot store at 155 Spring Street in SoHo in September. "We like being in Soho," said Nicolas Bertrand, communications director at Comptoir des Cotonniers, at a presentation of the brand's fall collection at its Notting Hill, London, store Wednesday. Comptoir des Cotonniers operates stores across countries including France, the U.K., Germany, Japan and South Korea. Bertrand said the company is looking to open two more New York locations in the future. And the brand has further openings planned for this year, in Bath, Kingston and Cambridge in the U.K.; Ibiza and Palma, as well as Majorca in Spain, and in Rome, Berlin and Hanover, Germany.
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