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.
@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
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)