Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
The party made good use of the brand's signature lime green color, which appeared on everything from hedges to lion statues that look shrunk dow from their typically royal resting places. There was also a candy bar repping the joyful side of C. Wonder, with green gummies — your choice of bears or rings — M&Ms, Hershey's Kisses, lollipops, saltwater taffy, licorice, and gum balls. Even select mannequins that were dressed only in jewelry were shrinkwrapped in a tight green cloth.
"The good fit for C. Wonder and QVC is that she loves prints, she loves color, she loves really luxurious fabrics and she really loves something special," Goreski told Racked.
"I really just want to make women happy" is the mission statement C. Wonder founder Chris Burch put forth in a 2012 NY Mag profile. However, it seems like the label was created very explicitly to try and make at least one woman unhappy.
Burch and his ex-wife Tory Burch, who founded her own namesake brand on the strength of a $2 million initial investment from her ex-husband, were embroiled in a legal battle throughout 2012 and 2013 based on the similarities between Tory's label and C. Wonder.
Both made the kind of cheery, brightly-colored, preppy clothes that propelled Tory Burch's profits north of $3 billion. But Chris seemed to be making products expressly to dupe the Tory Burch customer. "The actual [C. Wonder] product was all about tricking them," Lauren Sherman wrote for Racked. "In my mind, Burch assumed that his clientele wasn't smart or savvy enough to care that he was ripping off Tory."
BuzzFeed even reported that Chris flushed money into an expensive store location in New York's Flatiron district because his ex-wife frequented a hair salon right above it. Unsurprisingly, revenge as a business plan didn't go so well, and C. Wonder was forced to shutter all its stores just over a year ago. All this is to say that the history of C. Wonder is the type of drama-filled plotline that Gossip Girl writers probably wished they dreamt up.
Meanwhile, Brad Goreski was keeping a watchful eye on the brand while paving his own path to style stardom; he says he would walk by the C. Wonder store in Soho every day and would see firsthand the joy the store brought to people. "The fun and the whimsy that's inherent in the C. Wonder brand is something I identify with," he tells Racked.
Goreski is tailor-made to lead C. Wonder out of the depths it found itself in just 13 months ago: The celebrity stylist recently served as an exclusive stylist for Kate Spade, and Kate Spade's colorful and quirky designs are hardly a far cry from those of C. Wonder.
Goreski should also feel intimately comfortable with being in front of the camera for QVC. As Rachel Zoe's right-hand man, he appeared on The Rachel Zoe Project, had his own small-screen show called It's a Brad, Brad World, and is a co-host on Fashion Police. "I love being on TV," Goreski says.
"It's going to be my job to really show the QVC customer how she can mix prints and look and feel amazing all the time," he explains. "Some of the segments are an hour long, some are ten minutes long." You also might find Goreski trying some classic QVC-style tactics. "I hope I'm saying we only have two left! Yes, I'll be saying 'sold out' a lot."
This plan is familiar to C. Wonder's new parent company Xcel Brands, which routinely pairs up brands and personalities. The company has also teamed with people who, like Goreski, are marketable personalities in addition to fashion designers, like Isaac Mizrahi and QVC-mainstay Judith Ripka.
Goreski's title at the new C. Wonder is creative director, which allows him to flex his abilities as a tastemaker. "He oversees all creative direction for the brand, advising designers on the collection and providing trend direction," Xcel Brands tells Racked.
"There wasn't a reason to get away from [the preppy style], but more to find a way to reinvision the brand and still keep the things that people know and love," Goreski says. "So what she'll be able to find is the gold status hardware and the initial bracelets, and we still have the racer tote. But more in terms of the apparel, we wanted to make it less super, super preppy and more for everyday life."
The collection seems to be split between the enamel initial bracelets and gaudy jewelry of past C. Wonder and the more contemporary-leaning apparel of the "new" C. Wonder. The divide between these two worlds is clear. While mannequins are dressed in flowy paisley pants and simple blouses and jackets, the accessories are trapped in the past with branded belts, totes, bangles, and ballet flats.
Even a pair of loafers stitched with a bee cartoon on one foot and the word "Happy" on the other (Bee Happy, get it?) are pulled straight from the archives. "My favorite piece is one of the customer's favorite, the Bee Happy slipper," Goreski says. "That's coming back and was the number one asked for piece from the former C. Wonder customer base."
The new C. Wonder is all about travel, and unlike the old C. Wonder, not just vacations to the Hamptons. This season is inspired by Morocco, and is the reason for the use of tassels on everything from a cardigan and a blouse to a canteen-shaped purse or a long standout belt.
C. Wonder also cites Morocco as the reason for the "exotic" touches and the generous use of pattern — whether that's mixed on a pair of pants or in the lining of a jacket.
The colors of the old C. Wonder are here, meaning there are lots of blues, pinks, reds, oranges, and, of course, greens. But the colors here feel more subdued, faded in a way that suggests you just stumbled upon old C. Wonder clothes while shopping at a secondhand shop in the future.
The new aesthetic is described as "an Upper East Side bohemian vibe," according to Goreski. "So the Upper East Side vibe is in the finishes, the luxurious fabrics, the tailoring."
The aesthetic that doesn't shy away from who it's targeting and the purpose of these clothes. Goreski doesn't run from it, either. "The QVC customer loves fashion, she loves finding a treasure piece, she loves to buy a lot in a lot of volume," he explains, the last point serving as a quick and dirty TL;DR as to why C. Wonder is coming back and why to QVC.
The new C. Wonder collection is priced from $26 for tees and smaller accessories to $236 for some of the leather bags. It will launch on March 3rd, starting with Goreski's segment on QVC, before hitting a web store.