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Proenza Schouler gets new backing

US high-fashion label Proenza Schouler has new investors, according to reports the label’s designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez have teamed linked with 20 backers -  led by Andrew Rosen, chief executive officer of US contemporary brand Theory, and US financier John Howard - to fuel expansion, cutting ties with the Valentino Fashion Group (VFG), which has owned the brand since 2007.

VFG purchased the label four years ago for $3.7 million and is now owned by private equity group Permira. According to reports, the label’s new investors have devoted $10-20 million, or £6-12 million, to the deal in exchange for a minority stake equal to the portion currently held by Proenza Schouler’s management.

The designers McCollough and Hernandez and Proenza Schouler chief executive officer Shirley Cook are said to have switched a 55% stake in the company for a minority share, in exchange for greater freedom with the brand’s direction. Meanwhile, VFG is said to be retaining 5% in the company.

Rosen’s stake in Proenza Schouler is a personal investment outside of Link Theory Holdings, which owns Theory. He holds similar personal investments in US labels US contemporary lines Alice + Olivia, Gryphon and Rag & Bone and has said he hopes to expand the label globally. Howard, chief executive officer of US private equity firm Irving Place Capital, also invested in fashion labels including denim brand 7 for All Mankind previously through his company.

Proenza Schouler was first launched in New York in 2002 and has been worn by a host of celebrities including Nicole Kidman, Liv Tyler and Kristin Stewart. It has won two CFDA Women’s wear Designer of the Year awards. In 2004 it was also awarded the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.

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