Dormant Labels Mainbocher and Herbert Levine Set for Revival

Years after falling out of fashion’s zeitgeist, couture house Mainbocher and shoe brand Herbert Levine may have another life, thanks to French entrepreneur Arnaud de Lummen, who acquired the rights to the names and is shopping them around to investors, reports WWD.

The businessman has mapped out business plans to relaunch the two brands, reestablishing their visual identity and putting into play their deep histories.

In recent years the fashion revivalist, who shops around for forgotten labels and snaps up their copyrights and intellectual property rights, has also breathed new life into other dormant brands like Vionnet, starting up its ready-to-wear line again in 2006.

De Lummen uses museums’ fashion collections as an indicator for whether a name deserved to be relaunched after finding that the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art had owned a huge cadre of Levine shoes, making up the institution’s second-largest footwear collection.

“It’s always a good indicator,” he told WWD. “If the painting is everywhere in museums, that’s a good sign.”

Mainbocher’s namesake, Main Rousseau Bocher, was the first American couturier to show at the invitation of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, France’s governing body of couture. Bocher’s designs are also the subject of an online exhibition of the Museum of the City of New York, “Worth/Mainbocher: Demystifying the Haute Couture.”