Designer Isaac Mizrahi recently previewed his Liz Claiborne line of women's wear, an extreme makeover that could make or break the company, the Wall Street Journal reports. The brand, which generated almost half of the company's $3.1 billion in sales and more than half of its profits in 2000, now struggles to break even.
Mizrahi, who helped make Target's "cheap chic" cool, is key to any turnaround. One analyst has even called the Mizrahi-led brand relaunch "the single most important issue" facing the company. His new cork-covered high heels and oversize totes at least got the thumbs-up from Claiborne's rivals. "If [Mizrahi] does the same thing with ready-to-wear as he did with the accessories, they could become a ferocious competitor again," says one retail exec.