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September 14, 2018

VW's Beetle and iconic fashion brand, Henri Bendel, come to an end

It’s the end of an era. In 2019, Volkswagen's Beetle will end production, and fashion industry icon, Henri Bendel, will close its doors for good.

L Brands, which owns Bendel, is closing all 23 stores after 123 years in business. This includes the brand's Fifth Avenue storefront, which the company claims was the first luxury store on Fifth Avenue. It’s website will close, too, after the holiday season.

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Henri Bendel was born in Lafayette, La., and opened his first store in 1895 in Greenwich Village. The store is credited as the first store to hold a semi-annual sale, to host a runway show, and the first designer to trademark his brand. The store is famous for their brown and white stripped shopping bag. 

Bendel is also credited as the person who introduced Coco Chanel to the U.S. The brand was bought by L Brands, which also owns Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret, in 1985. The company stated they wanted to focus on growing their larger brands.

Volkswagen is ending production of the Beetle, nicknamed "Bug," at the end of the current model year, which will end mid-2019. VW sold 15,166 Beetle models in the U.S. in 2017, and 11,151 in the first eight months of 2018.

The car was designed by Ferdinand Porsche in the 1930s. Originally designed to be the "people's car" for Nazi Germany, production was stalled as Germany focused on the war effort. The car began mass production post-war in 1949. It took off in the 1960s with the 1968 film, “The Love Bug (Herbie),” and was a staple among the '60s counter-culture. 

But before you cry, "Auf Wiedersehen, Bug," production of the Beetle has ended and been revived before. Perhaps down the line, we can see another revamp of the beloved car. VW U.S. CEO Hinrich J. Woebcken, said in a statement that the company has no current plans, but mentioned, “I would also say, ‘Never say never.’”

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