Nygard’s last sale: The rise and fall of the Polyester King’s retail empire

On Friday the 13th of March, as Canada went into lockdown, Peter Nygard’s retail vogue empire was nonetheless standing, barely.

Because it closed its distribution centres that day, with 1450 workers working 169 retail shops and a big wholesale operation, it was hardly on the peak of its affect.


Nevertheless it was nonetheless an astonishing and worthwhile success, constructed on low cost and cheerful quick vogue for the trendy cost-conscious lady of fashion, which had made Nygard fabulously rich and tagged him with the nickname of the Polyester King.

What a distinction a number of months could make. A courtroom determination in March took company management out of Nygard’s palms, as his firms have been put into receivership, and warehouses in Toronto and Winnipeg put up on the market.

This week got here information that an mental property agency can be auctioning off the manufacturers that made him wealthy, together with the labels Nygard, Alia and TanJay, the final of which refers to Jacob Fashions, which was the primary firm Nygard purchased into after leaving Eaton’s as an bold younger salesman within the 1960s.


Nygard, 78, has been out and in of courtrooms his complete profession, with main litigation over alleged defamatory libel, paternity, trademark regulation, and different disputes. In 1980 he was charged with the rape of an 18-year-old lady, however was not tried or convicted. He settled with three ladies who filed sexual harassment complaints in Manitoba. He introduced a Constitution problem to a blood take a look at over a toddler assist declare.

However nothing had destroyed the retail empire, with its flagship retailer in Manhattan and its offers to produce department shops throughout North America.

The world has now caught as much as Nygard’s empire, nevertheless, and since that day in March, when management lastly slipped away, the decline of the polyester king has snowballed. Now, the avalanche has swept away most of the luxurious trappings of a life lived famously to extra, leaving Nygard lately pleading in useless with a choose to not promote a company constructing in Winnipeg as a result of he has been residing in it as a tenant, and due to this fact can’t be evicted.


The choose dismissed that declare for lack of documentary proof, apart from an image of a mattress. CBC reported in June that Nygard was residing at his cottage at Falcon Lake, Manitoba.

He was already the topic of an arrest warrant within the Bahamas, the place he lived for a few years till 2018, the final decade of which was consumed by an epic battle with the federal government of the Bahamas and his neighbours over his unlawful dredging of the ocean flooring and different building to broaden his property, Nygard Cay, on the spit of land on the western tip of New Windfall.

That struggle took years, but it surely was not till lately that the property began to look much less like the actual property extravagance of a wealthy man and extra like an alleged crime scene, the place younger ladies have been allegedly trafficked and abused sexually.


Styled as a Mayan palace, Nygard’s home was the location of modelling shoots for his numerous vogue strains, and elaborate events with celeb visitors, together with Prince Andrew, whose dealings with Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein have prompted turmoil for the Royal Household, newly escalated by Maxwell’s arrest by the FBI.

U.S. federal brokers have additionally been investigating Nygard, and in February raided places of work in New York and California. In response, Nygard stepped down as chairman and divested possession.

Then got here a category motion regulation go well with, filed in February in New York by a gaggle of 10 ladies, which has now grown to 57, alleging they have been raped and trafficked for intercourse by Nygard, some after they have been as younger as 14.


The lawsuit describes a intercourse trafficking scheme run over many years by Nygard, along with his firm’s cash, wherein underaged women and girls have been drugged, sexually assaulted and coerced into intercourse acts in trade for cash or guarantees of modelling alternatives or profession development throughout the Nygard empire, in places that embody the Bahamas compound, websites in the USA, and in Nygard’s hometown Winnipeg.

The allegations within the lawsuit haven’t been examined in courtroom. No prison prices have been filed.

Nygard’s attorneys filed a movement this week asking a choose to dismiss the go well with, as most of the plaintiffs don’t dwell in New York, among the allegations associated to claims exterior the USA, and many of the ladies’s claims are barred below the statute of limitations, the movement claims.


The category motion calls for a jury trial on claims that Nygard and his firms “conspired to and did recruit, lure, and entice younger, impressionable, and infrequently impoverished kids and ladies,with money funds and false guarantees of profitable modeling alternatives or different profession alternatives to assault, rape,and sodomize them. Nygard used his appreciable affect within the vogue trade,his wealth,his energy by means of corruption of officers, and a community of firm workers below his route,to kidnap, groom and entice kids and ladies.”

The Winnipeg Free Press reported this week that Nygard is now additionally the topic of a Winnipeg Police Service sexual assault investigation.

The newspaper quoted one lady who described being interviewed by police over her declare Nygard violently raped her when she was 17 in 1979, after she accepted a journey residence from him after an evening of dancing. She has additionally joined the New York lawsuit. Her claims are equally untested in courtroom.


Nygard was born in Finland to a household that immigrated to Manitoba when he was a toddler. After learning enterprise, he began working at Eaton’s, realized retail, then purchased a stake in a small firm that he constructed into his empire.

Final month Dillard’s, the massive American vogue retailer, reached a settlement with a number of Nygard firms in receivership over hundreds of thousands of in debt and stock. A few of the clothes had already been ordered and shipped, the remainder was refused on supply and all future orders cancelled, because of the rising scandal.

A part of that deal includes Dillard’s shopping for the Allison Daley trademark, which was bought at HBC shops for a few years, and was the topic of prolonged litigation over a consignment scheme.