Xcel Brands Taps Christian Siriano for C. Wonder Relaunch

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Xcel Brands Inc., continuing to tap talent for its portfolio of brands, has tapped Christian Sirano as creative director of C. Wonder by Christian Siriano, which is expected to launch in spring 2023.

The fashion designer has helmed his own brand since 2008 and has been a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America since 2013. Siriano will continue to design his own collection while bringing his signature to C. Wonder by Christian Siriano, characterized by Xcel in its announcement Friday as a brand for modern ready-to-wear and accessories basics, home and entertaining products, “with a cosmopolitan slant and available at an incredible value.”

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Siriano will also serve as the public face and voice of the brand, including appearing on HSN’s broadcast and streaming service in 2023. (C. Wonder products are currently sold and can be bought at Walmart, Amazon and some specialty stores.) However, with Siriano, livestreaming will be emphasized and the products revamped. The strategy mirrors what’s happening at Xcel’s Halston brand, where last August, Ken Downing, the former Neiman Marcus fashion director, became creative director to set a new direction for the fashion label.

“Bringing Christian on board to lead the transformation of C. Wonder by Christian Siriano is another key step in the creation of a live-selling ecosystem that connects our brands directly with consumers,” Robert W. D’Loren, chairman and chief executive officer of Xcel Brands, said in a statement. “Christian’s sophisticated aesthetic, creative vision and vibrant personality have made him one of America’s most respected young designers and we’re confident he’ll bring a renewed sense of excitement to C. Wonder as we solidify our leadership within the fast-growing livestream marketplace.”

Xcel bought C. Wonder in July 2015, when the brand was dormant and had compiled a checkered history. Founded by J. Christopher Burch in 2011, C. Wonder launched with an inexpensive, colorful and sometimes kitschy array of women’s clothing, footwear, jewelry, accessories, housewares, home decor and gift-type products. The business expanded rapidly throughout the U.S., opening 32 stores, but the expansion proved too fast and eventually the stores closed.

Xcel Brands is a large apparel providers within the interactive TV market and has been investing in livestreaming technology platforms and partnerships. In addition to C. Wonder by Christian Siriano, the company produces and distributes sportswear and dresses under the Halston and H Halston labels sold at Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s and HSN. Xcel also owns the Judith Ripka and Logo by Lori Goldstein brands as well as a minority stake in Isaac Mizrahi and the Longaberger home products and livestreaming platform.

“I’ve always loved C. Wonder,” said Siriano, who added that livestreaming, Xcel’s forte, “has such a fantastic future here in the U.S. and I can’t wait to be able to connect personally with millions of C. Wonder customers across platforms.”

Siriano launched his collection in 2008 following his studies in London under Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen. He shows his collection each season at New York Fashion Week. He’s been at the forefront of advocating for body diversity on the runway and red carpet. During the COVID-19 pandemic, his atelier shifted entirely from clothes to masks and to date he and his team have shipped more than 1 million masks to frontline workers in the New York area. The year 2020 also saw Siriano launch his digital Bravo talk show called “So Siriano.” He also does interior design and creates a custom furniture collection.

The New York-based Xcel Brands, considered a media and consumer products company, is engaged in the design, production, marketing, livestreaming, wholesale distribution and direct-to-consumer sales of branded apparel, footwear, accessories, fine jewelry, home goods and other consumer products, and the acquisition of dynamic consumer lifestyle brands. The company’s brands have generated in excess of $3 billion in retail sales via livestreaming in interactive television and digital channels alone.

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