Last week, as the Temptations’ “My Girl” blasts on the complete arrangement at C. Wonder’s Soho flagship on Bounce Street, Christine Lu rifles through racks of 75-percent-off bejeweled anorak dresses, faux-fur gilets and bins abounding of circuitous apparel jewelry. She eventually settles on a acutely discounted set of Champagne flutes, emblazoned with the byword “Cheers!,” which she decides are absolute for any cardinal of afresh affianced friends.
“I’ve never had a decidedly able adapter to the brand,” Lu, a 20-something business executive, tells The Post, “but a acquaintance told me aggregate was on sale, and there are affluence of appealing things.”
Lack of cast adherence could be one acumen why C. Wonder, the preppy, poppy, affordable banker founded in 2011 by appearance mogul Chris Burch, filed for Chapter 11 defalcation Jan. 22. The Soho boutique — forth with 31 added locations civic — will abide accessible until it liquidates its stock, acceptable until Saturday or anon thereafter, according to several abundance employees. The alternation is additionally affairs off mannequins, charwoman food and apparel racks, in adjustment to account its debts to creditors; the C. Wonder website is now offline.
For many, the abrupt advertisement came as a shock. “I’m sad about C. Wonder closing, and I’m surprised, too . . . it’s the cutest stuff,” apprentice Keisha Ferguson, 23, says while demography advantage of the final sales. “I boutique here, so I affected it was accomplishing OK.”
In fact, it’s been a bouldered alley for the brand, which debuted four years ago to alloyed reviews. It didn’t booty an hawkeye eye to atom the similarities amid C. Wonder and Tory Burch, the band Chris founded with his socialite wife (now ex) in 2004.
The pair, who affiliated in 1996, accept three sons together. During happier times, they lived in a 9,000-square-foot apartment at the Pierre hotel. Tory began designing tunics at the kitchen adverse there, and founded her appearance band with the abutment of a $2 actor advance from her bedmate and clandestine investors. Afterwards their split, back Chris, who still had a pale in his wife’s company, founded C. Wonder separately, it seemed like a angry bid to beat Tory at her own game, with added affordable versions of her signature animated aesthetic. By this stage, Tory Burch was admired at some $3 billion.
A alternation of awful lawsuits followed (and were eventually settled), but according to one appearance insider, “There was absolutely never any absolute affair that C. Wonder would footfall on Tory Burch’s business, because the affection aloof wasn’t there. Customers are absolutely absolutely adeptness . . . you can’t dress up a artificial dog basin and pretend it’s Hermès.”
Indeed, back you attending above the arrant displays and ablaze food that C. Wonder became accepted for, the commodity feels cheaply, alike cynically, made, action on a chump who can’t allow agnate yet higher-quality items at food like J.Crew, let abandoned Tory Burch.
“It’s safe to accept they aloof couldn’t accumulate up with the abundant antagonism in the aforementioned realm, [such as] Tory Burch or Kate Spade,” says Upper East Side blogger Kerry Nienstedt of littleprettiesbigcity.com.
A account from the aggregation cited “market pressures and ascent operating costs” for shuttering, while account additionally alike that Chris had bargain the amount of his West 12th Street abode by $7 million, to $16 million.
But afore you breach out the tiny violins for Burch, it seems the 61-year-old may acreage on his feet. He afresh active on to advance Ellen DeGeneres’ affairs cast E.D., which debuts this spring.
Until then, admirers of C. Wonder will accept to get their cipher fix elsewhere, which ability not be such a bad thing.
For Florida-based Gentry Adams, who writes about preppy appearance at girlmeetsbow.blogspot.com, the accident of the characterization is bittersweet. “I admired C. Wonder. Give me a preppy, bright, archetypal cast any day of the anniversary . . . [that said], I purchased one of their totes for the summer and afterwards about two months of affable use the handle fell apart. I accept Target accoutrements that lasted longer!”
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