Not content to launch men’s with only their designer label, The Row, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are tackling men’s wear on a second front — their contemporary brand Elizabeth and James, which is also expanding in each of its existing categories.
Elizabeth and James women’s wear launched for fall 2007 through a licensing partnership between L’Koral Industries, the former parent of Seven For All Mankind and the Olsens’ company Dualstar. It is now sold in more than 200 doors, including Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. The partners forecast revenue growth of at least 25 percent this year in just the women’s category. Elizabeth and James is also expanding the women’s shoe line it launched last season through a partnership with Steve Madden, and adding fine jewelry to its collaboration with jeweler Robert Lee Morris. (Think rose gold and diamonds.)
And now there’s men’s wear.
“We knew eventually there would be a guy, a James,” said Ashley Olsen. The label is loosely named after the twins’ other two siblings, reflecting a masculine-feminine balance always in play in the design of the women’s line. However, “in men’s it’s more about balancing uptown and downtown,” she said.
“That’s not literal, it’s just a reference to fabrics and the risks people are willing to take in the way they dress,” said Mary-Kate. For this first season, the duo said they took additional inspiration from “Oliver Twist” and Peter Pan’s Lost Boys.
The line has a rugged downtown flair, with mildly trendy silhouettes. As with The Row, the twins aimed to create unfussy, durable and solidly masculine clothes that are comforting on the body. There is visible softness in cashmere sweaters, frayed jersey tops and washed flannel pieces. Patterns include plaids and an American Indian intarsia, which covers a puffer vest.
A coat features a removable shearling lining “because dudes want options,” said Mary-Kate. “And if they buy a great coat, they want to wear it all the time, starting when they buy it.”
A pleated flannel trouser is expected to be a signature item and retails for $265. Prices for the line are at the high end of contemporary because the customer is “investment-oriented but not ready to jump to designer,” said Jane Siskin, chief executive officer of L’Koral.
Barneys New York will launch the men’s line in the U.S., even though the retailer doesn’t carry Elizabeth and James women’s wear.
“I think that speaks to the strength of the men’s line and the fact that it’s not leaning on the women’s business,” said Siskin. Furthermore, the sales plan is to target men’s specialty stores such as Odin, which will have no basis of comparison to the women’s.
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion