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Saturday, March 3, 2012

David Netto vs. Maclaren

Caroline Voagen Nelson for TimeOutKids.

Interior designer David Netto has long been the go-to guy for the bohemian WASP-y set, and in the early Aughts he introduced a high-end nursery furniture line favored by celebs like Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow. In 2009, the designer sold his NettoCollection to British stroller maker Maclaren and was retained as Creative Director of the company's nursery division. Last week in a bombshell tweet, Netto announced he had resigned his post and was disassociating himself from the company.

American Baby Products, the U.S. division of Maclaren, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy (liquidation) in an apparent attempt to dodge future legal claims stemming from a safety recall. Thousands of the company's foldable strollers were pulled off shelves in 2009 when it was found 15 children had suffered finger lacerations and amputations from a faulty hinge.

"Bankruptcy lawyers said that the filing was unusual in several respects. Because [the company's head] appears to control Maclaren globally, it is unusual to put just one division of a company into a Chapter 7 liquidation." It seems Maclaren's parent company has quietly been loading debt from other global divisions onto the U.S. unit in order to dissolve it.

So what does this mean for Netto who has updated his Twitter profile to describe himself as the "ex-Creative Director of Maclaren Nursery by David Netto"? The designer is "currently exploring his legal options to reclaim the $1.1 million he's contractually owed plus up to $5 million in royalties that Maclaren USA aso [sic] owes him as a result of acquiring his NettoCollection." One can assume Netto will attempt to regain control of his furniture line.

Any mention of Netto and the NettoCollection has been removed from Maclaren's U.S. website and the designer's personal website now features a rather world-worn gentleman on its landing page:

U.S. Unit of Maclaren, a Stroller Maker, Is in Bankruptcy [The New York Times DealBook blog]
Stroller Giant Maclaren Declares Bankruptcy. But Is It a Scam? [brandchannel]
DavidNettoSays [Twitter]
Maclaren U.S. [official site]
David Netto Design [official site]


Margaret said...

It's just a phase.

Leigh said...

Omg, those Tweets! Mad drama.
Meanwhile soooooooo glad you're back, lady!!!

Alcira Molina-Ali said...

Genius cyber-sleuthing, Raina.
This is a most unfortunate turn of events.
I always guessed el Nettito would be an educated and witty sort of guy, and he's certainly proving it by handling the sticky situation with humor and aplomb.
Ah me, what's to be done with these corporate kooks?
Cheers, Alcira