Men’s wear designer Steven Cox of Duckie Brown has a pipe dream about women’s wear. The plot plays out a lot like the Tilda Swinton film “Orlando”: Swinton starts off as a man and, centuries later, becomes a woman. “I have this secret fantasy that Duckie Brown will turn organically into a women’s line without anybody knowing it,” Cox explains. In reality, he and his partner Daniel Silver are in talks to develop a lower-priced line, which would include both men’s and women’s. Though no date has been set, they’re aiming for fall 2010.
Though it’s hardly a new idea — after all, Ralph Lauren started by peddling neckties — quite a few men’s designers have recently tossed their hats into the distaff ring. Kris Van Assche, Band of Outsiders’ Scott Sternberg and Obedient Sons’ Swaim and Christina Hutson already have women’s lines. Daiki Suzuki of Engineered Garments and Fraser Moss and Jimmy Collins of YMC launched women’s collections for fall ’08, while spring ’09 saw the debut of women’s from Endovanera, the relaunch of the category by Gilded Age (after an earlier failed effort) and expanded, full collections from both Oliver Spencer and Nice Collective. Simon Spurr and Michael Bastian are also contemplating the move, Bastian saying it’s not a matter of if but when.
Why the sudden surge? One reason is that, with the economy tanking, companies are trying to tap new turf. “The men’s market is quite small compared to the women’s,” says Marcus Wainwright of Rag & Bone. “I mean, there’s a reason there are more women’s fashion magazines. The men’s opportunity from a business perspective is not that big unless you’re in a mass arena like J. Crew.” Rag & Bone’s women’s line, launched in 2005, three years after the company’s debut, now accounts for 70 percent of overall sales.
“It comes down to brand awareness,” says Spurr. “It’s much easier to establish a brand if you have a women’s arm to it.” And, some note, it’s easier to break into women’s from the men’s arena than as a complete start-up. “The competition for women’s is probably tenfold,” says Endovanera’s Mitch Moseley. “I imagine it would be quite difficult to launch a women’s line now from the ground up.”
Indeed, the fact that women are familiar with, and interested in, a men’s label is often cited as an advantage. “It was a smart transition for a lot of these designers,” says Paul Birardi, who co-owns the Manhattan men’s boutique Odin with Eddy Chai (brother of Richard). “You would see women coming into our store and actually trying to get an extra small or a double-extra small.” Recently, the two opened Pas de Deux, their first women’s outlet, on East 11th Street; many of the pieces they stock are by designers who also sell to Odin. “The women [we know] were a bit alienated by the overly feminine offerings in the market, and we wanted to provide another window,” says Nice Collective’s Joe Haller.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews