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.
EXCLUSIVE: Two and half months after John Targon, cofounder and codesigner of Baja East, was hired as creative director of the contemporary division at Marc Jacobs, he has left the company, WWD has learned. Marc Jacobs International, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, confirmed Targon’s departure in a statement: “John Targon is a talented designer and we appreciate the work he has done here. Ultimately working together did not make sense for the brand and we wish him the best.” Read the story by @jessiredale, link in bio. #wwdnews
@theluxurycollection is officially launching a collection, tapping Sofia Sanchez de Betak for the capsule. Over 30 styles will be featured in the Chufy x The Luxury Collection, debuting next month at Bergdorf Goodman, The Webster, FiveStory and more. De Betak, known as “@chufy,” drew inspiration for the collection from her trips to Japan in the past year #wwdfashion
@lhd, founder and CEO of @thewebster, has teamed up with @lebonmarcherivegauche for the European launch of her ready-to-wear line, LHD. The launch will come with an exclusive pop-up opening today that’s set to run through May 20. Located on the second floor, it carries her debut Miami-themed resort collection, launched in November as see-now-buy-now. #wwdfashion
@longchamp, which marks its 70th anniversary this year, just opened its biggest U.S. store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. On the lower level there’s a floor-to-ceiling display of the brand’s iconic Le Pliage bag – in all of its different colors, shapes and sizes. Customers can also have their product personalized in-store by imprinting names, initials or emblems. #wwdfashion (📷: @ericmtownsend)
“Whenever I’m in that place of sound and music, I don’t have fear or nervousness…This album has a lot of themes of courage and boldness and I want to be the soundtrack for people’s lives. I’ll be so happy if [my songs] evoke strength in people, which I know music has done for me,” says @kimbramusic of her newest album “Primal Heart.” The New Zealand-born singer sat down with WWD to talk about her music, newest tour and connecting with hear fans — read more on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
Luxury handbag resale company @rebagofficial is planning to sell a rare collectible for $70,000: the @hermes White Crocodile Himalayan Birkin. The exclusive Birkin sold for about $100,000 in 2008, when @davidbeckham bought one for his wife @victoriabeckham to add to her collection. Read more about the rare Birkin on WWD.com #wwdaccessories
With her costume pearl necklace and what-you-see-is-what-you-get style, Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday at age 92, was a straight-shooter from start to finish.
Born Barbara Pierce in New York City, Bush served as the 37th first lady, as well as the country’s second lady from 1981 to 1989. In addition to being part of the longest presidential marriage — 73 years — Bush also had the unlikely distinction of having one son, George W., become the 43rd president and another son, Jeb, run unsuccessfully in 2016. Having served as second lady during the Reagan administration’s two terms and lived all over the world during her own husband’s ascending political career, Barbara Bush made it clear that literacy — not fashion — was her priority. Read more from Rosemary Feitelberg’s obituary on the late First Lady in WWD.com, link in bio. #barbarabush #wwdnews
Western and ’90s trends have influenced denim for fall 2018. Think raw, dark and coated jeans mixed with bold prints and tough leather. #trendtuesdays #wwdfashion (Styled by @thealexbadia;📷: @ryanplett)