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Gabrielle Union Collection Returns With Denim as Brand Owner Acquires Luxury Footwear Brand

The parent company of the digitally revived New York & Company, Lord & Taylor and Fashion to Figure brands is looking to give another brand a second wind. Saadia Group, which calls itself a multi-category product manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer, has acquired the assets of luxury footwear brand Aquatalia from the recently bankrupt Global Brands Group USA.

Bloomberg reported that the sale went for $23 million, beating an initial $17.3 million “stalking horse” bid from Windsong and Hilco Brands LLC. Established in 1994, Aquatalia says its made-in-Italy footwear celebrates “functional luxury, versatile style and wearability.” The company maintained two stores in New York and San Francisco as well as an e-commerce presence through the GBG USA bankruptcy.

“The addition of Aquatalia to our growing family of brands strengthens our reach and the ability to serve additional consumers,” Jack Saadia, principal and co-founder of Saadia Group, said in a statement. “We look forward to building this brand and are enthusiastic to continue to add to our portfolio within the luxury market.”

Established in 1994, with footwear crafted in Italy, Aquatalia prides itself on celebrating "functional luxury, versatile style and wearability."

The sale comes as parent company GBG Holding Ltd. Is in the process of restructuring its business. GBG’s management and its European wholesale businesses are separate entities, and were not part of the U.S. petition.

Court papers indicated that GBG USA plans to auction its Ely & Walker and Sean John brands on Thursday, June 23. The brand manager also is pursuing the sale of a substantial portion of its remaining assets, including brands such as AIRBAND, MagnaReady, Yarrow, B New York and Juniperunltd.

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The acquisition, which is expected to close in the next few weeks, also marks Saadia Group’s entry into the luxury footwear market. Saadia caters to a diversified portfolio of consumer products across categories targeting all age demographics from men’s, women’s and kids apparel, women’s handbags, home textiles, furniture/décor, tech accessories and more.

Gabrielle Union collection returns to New York & Company

The acquisition wasn’t the only news to come out of Saadia. Actress Gabrielle Union is bringing her namesake fashion line back to New York & Company, and introducing denim for the first time. The Gabrielle Union line garnered “immediate success” when it first launched exclusively at the chain in fall 2017, the retailer said.

For the second go-around, the line debuted at New York & Company and Lord & Taylor in fall 2021, while future drops will release on Fashion to Figure at a later time.

Ranging in price from $49.95 to $149.95, the first items in the new line include key staples in the author and entrepreneur’s personal wardrobe and address a variety of occasions. Featuring a color palette of soft neutrals with subtle pops of color, the standout pieces include a multi-color swirl maxi dress, bold knits and matching sets.

“We are excited to have Gabrielle Union join the Saadia Group, her brand is the perfect fit for our family of brands. We are excited to offer our product development expertise to relaunch her line bigger than before, with product at New York & Company and a debut at Lord & Taylor,” Saadia said. “Our customers have been asking for the return of her line and we are confident that Gabrielle’s creativity and authentic style will continue to resonate with them.”

The relaunch will roll out with monthly releases, beginning with the September launch in sizes XS-XXL and U.S. 0-20.

“It’s great to join the Saadia Group and be back with the New York & Company family, designing my line once again!” said Union in a statement. “With every collection I design, I want to ensure the clothing reflects my personality, style and celebrates confidence. The September collection has everything from styles for work, chic and cozy knits and pops of color for a fun night out.”

Beyond its top three brands, which it acquired out of bankruptcy, the Saadia Direct division also sells digitally through women’s apparel rental business Le Tote, eco-friendly footwear brand Hybrid Green Label, men’s fashion brand X-Ray Jeans, artisanal footwear seller Vintage Foundry Co. and home furnishings brand Chic Home.