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Vera Wang Lavender Label to Launch Shoes

Firm Signs Three-Year License.

Vera Wang’s Lavender Label is on the expansion path.

This story first appeared in the August 4, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The contemporary line has signed a three-year shoe license with Brown Shoe, set to launch for 2009. The collection will target the Lavender Label customer and will include a full lifestyle offering of flats, espadrilles, sandals, clogs, pumps and boots.

The deal intensifies Wang’s focus on accessories. The firm already boasts a number of licenses under its signature Vera Wang line, including fragrance, home, eyewear and fine papers. In March, Wang’s Lavender Label began extending into licenses with Accessory Network Group, which will produce and distribute the line’s handbags and small leather goods this spring.

“Clearly, with the Lavender Label apparel business growing at the pace it has, we felt that extending into accessories, especially shoes, is such an important component to not only complement apparel, but really help fuel growth for the overall brand,” said Susan Sokol, president of Vera Wang Apparel.

Sokol estimated that, within the next five years, accessories could account for 60 percent of the line’s volume. According to industry estimates, the shoe collection is expected to garner $35 million to $40 million at wholesale in the next three years.

Retailing from $195 to $695, Lavender Label shoes will target the same distribution outlets as the line’s apparel, including Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. They also will be distributed internationally at Tsum in Moscow, Harvey Nichols in London and Lane Crawford in Hong Kong.

As for whether the firm is at all cautious about launching another category in today’s shaky economy, Sokol said: “It’s all about the product. I think we have a great opportunity at this price point and a wide space within contemporary shoes. Customers are out there shopping, but are intelligent and looking at great design and price points very carefully, so design has to be there and the price-value relationship has to be there, too. It’s a combination.”