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NEW YORK — Ann Taylor has a new partner in footwear, tapping category expert Camuto Group to help oversee and source its shoe program.
This story first appeared in the August 5, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The first styles from Greenwich, Conn.-based Camuto Group, founded by Vince Camuto, hit Ann Taylor stores and anntaylor.com today. The new partnership doubles the footwear assortments at Ann Taylor, as the retailer puts a greater emphasis on the category.
Brian Lynch, brand president of Ann Taylor, a division of Ann Inc., said, “Vince’s expertise in quality, innovation and trends makes him the right partner to help us to continue to evolve Ann Taylor into a complete lifestyle brand for the modern woman. We look forward to offering the Ann Taylor woman a high-quality, stylish assortment of shoes that reflects her versatile lifestyle.”
Most Ann Taylor stores will stock between 30 to 40 different footwear styles, with the complete assortment available online and at the Ann Taylor flagship on Madison Avenue. As of May, Ann Taylor operated 273 full-price stores and 102 factory stores. The division rang up total sales of $945.2 million in fiscal 2012.
The fall footwear collection — which remains branded as Ann Taylor, not Vince Camuto — includes ballet flats in quilted leather, heels ranging from a four-inch stiletto to a kitten style, a laser-cut bootie and knee-high riding boots. Retail prices range from $78 to $248.
Ann Taylor brand spokeswoman Kate Hudson calls out the new footwear in a video promoting the launch. “They’re beyond beautiful. They fit amazing,” said the actress. “That’s a pretty bootie,” she added of the laser-cut style.
“We are proud to be the first-ever footwear design partner of such an influential and iconic women’s brand,” said Camuto, chief executive officer of Camuto Group. “Ann Taylor is renowned for sophisticated style, and we look forward to the opportunity to blend their signature feminine aesthetic with beautifully crafted footwear.”
Camuto Group markets its flagship Vince Camuto brand, which includes women’s and men’s footwear, apparel, accessories and fragrance in various in-house and licensed categories. The company also owns the VC Signature, Louise et Cie and Two by Camuto brands. It is the master licensee of the $1 billion Jessica Simpson brand and manages the footwear divisions of BCBG Max Azria, BCBGeneration and Lucky Brand. Additionally, Camuto Group sources footwear for Tory Burch.
Camuto Group operates more than 30 retail stores for its own brands and sells product from its entire brand portfolio into 5,400 department and specialty stores worldwide.
“There was a natural creative synergy with the Camuto team in bringing our vision to life,” said Lisa Axelson, head of design at Ann Taylor. “We designed a beautiful collection of shoes that complements the multifaceted lives women lead today and delivers on our brand promise of providing them with style, quality, comfort and fit.”