By  on July 16, 2014

NYDJ Apparel LLC is bringing its patented Lift Tuck Technology to the dress market and enlisting the aid of only its second spokeswoman, model and actress Bridget Moynahan, to help pave the way.

NYDJ, acquired by Crestview Partners in December, will add a 20-piece dress collection for fall priced to retail from $138 to $188 and initially be available in about 70 doors at Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and Lord & Taylor. While NYDJ has incorporated “tummy tuck” construction into its jeans and slacks, the dress category seemed a natural extension for the brand and its proprietary technology.

As with NYDJ’s bottoms, the dresses fuse shapewear details with an existing product category. A woman stepping into an NYDJ dress essentially puts on a compression slip encased in a fitted dress, with details including colorblocking, faux leather and suede and a “desk-to-dinner” attitude.

“We’ve taken our cues from our customers and the places they give us permission to play,” said Robert C. Skinner Jr., who served as a director of NYDJ for four years before becoming president and chief executive officer upon Crestview’s acquisition. “The first, after jeans, was in other bottoms and next women wanted a flattering top to go with her jeans or slacks, even if it wasn’t necessarily a fit solution the way our bottoms are.

“But with very few exceptions, the next thing women were looking for from us were dresses, and everything we’re doing in dresses incorporates a fit solution through Lift Tuck Technology,” he noted.

Skinner acknowledges some unresolved questions for a brand so closely associated with comfort and flattering fits. He noted, for instance, that it might not make sense for NYDJ to sign a footwear licensee without a comfort or fit story for that company to tell. He told WWD that the firm, which has developed a “pretty nice petite business,” is looking for ways to do more in plus sizes.

“We’d like to be bigger than we are because the market makes so much sense for us,” the ceo commented. “We haven’t yet come up with a better fit solution for the plus-size customer, but we’re close and will have something new in the fall.”

Meanwhile, Moynahan will represent the brand in its fall campaign as its spokeswoman, following a one-year association with Helena Christensen that included the brand’s first television campaign.

TV might still be added for the second half, Skinner said, but for now the flight with Moynahan, shot in Los Angeles by Peggy Sirota, will incorporate print vehicles, including the September editions of Vogue, InStyle, Harper’s Bazaar, Real Simple and O, the Oprah Magazine, as well as nydj.com, social media and in-store material. The campaign bears the headline “Live in Slim” and the tag line, familiar to many an NYDJ customer, “Look one size smaller. Feel amazing.”

The campaign also asserts NYDJ’s West Coast lineage, calling out its “Los Angeles” locale below its logo with each image shot with downtown Los Angeles’ skyline in the background.

While Moynahan looks perfectly comfortable in NYDJ’s new dresses, she’s equally at home in NYDJ jeans in the campaign. Skinner feels the premium denim market is starting to stabilize — along with the rest of soft-goods retailing — as women, who have been moving toward yoga pants for day-night versatility, begin to explore new ideas in denim, including prints and indigo interpretations of yoga pants, such as those executed in French terry.

Skinner believes that NYDJ enjoys something of an advantage over others in denim because of its unusual brand position — speaking to a somewhat older woman although without the limitations of its initial brand — Not Your Daughter’s Jeans — limiting its categorical breadth.

Asked what specific kinds of jeans retailers aren’t interested in purchasing for their customers these days, Karen Castellano, executive vice president of sales and planning, was quick to respond, “Anything that’s not comfortable, anything that’s rigid or raw. The customer has seen it and she’s not buying it.”

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