By  on May 7, 2008

Paige Premium Denim is launching its first contemporary offshoot, Paige Black Label, which is intended to translate the jeans line's focus on fit into sophisticated fabrics and classic silhouettes.

Bowing for fall with a first delivery set for July 30, Paige Black Label offers tropical wool wide-leg trousers and skinny leather pants, as well as a Hervé Léger-inspired curve-hugging dress that falls below the knee and a high-rise pencil skirt.

The styles are a response to customers who have asked fit model-turned-designer Paige Adams-Geller to make a great-fitting pant in a fabric other than denim.

With Paige Black Label, Adams-Geller joins denim designers who have extended their reach to the contemporary category by introducing offshoot brands or integrating sportswear into their lines. Denim stalwarts such as Seven For All Mankind, Joe's Jeans and Citizens of Humanity have offered herringbone skirtsuits, plaid bell-bottoms and other sportswear pieces.

Adams-Geller's latest venture also seeks to reinforce the message that she knows how to achieve the perfect fit. After working as a fit model for denim designers, including Adriano Goldschmied and Frank Mechaly, she started privately held Paige Premium Denim, based in Culver City, Calif., in 2004. A year later, Adams-Geller opened a flagship on Los Angeles' Robertson Boulevard. She also collaborated with fitness trainer Ashley Borden and writer Zibby Right on a style and fitness makeover guide titled "Your Perfect Fit," published this year by McGraw-Hill.

Nordstrom was sold on Adams-Geller. Along with Henri Bendel in New York, Ron Herman in Los Angeles, Neiman Marcus' Cusp chain and Stanley Korshak in Dallas, the Seattle-based retailer ordered Paige Black Label's inaugural collection, which will be carried in Nordstrom's contemporary-centric department called Savvy.

"We love the line because it offers an edgy and sexy-fitting pant as an alternative to denim," said Anita Ortiz, Savvy's national merchandise manager. "In addition, she is using premier fabrications."

Adams-Geller's fabrics include tropical wool, a thick and stretchy wool blend called ponte di roma and supple leather dyed chocolate brown and black. Wholesale prices range from $95 for a wool vest and a fitted ponte di roma top with a plunging cowl neckline, to $361 for a leather jacket with ponte di roma insets in the arms. Although her first collection of 35 stockkeeping units is awash in a classic palette of navy, tan, gray and black, Adams-Geller plans to add fashion textiles like pinstripes and metallics.Adams-Geller declined to provide a first-year sales projection for Paige Black Label and financial figures for Paige Premium Denim. She forecast that in the first year, Paige Black Label will make up about 10 percent of her overall business. Eventually, the contemporary line could grow to become half of or even the same size as Paige Premium Denim, she said.

Despite the shaky economy, Adams-Geller thinks her customer base will like Paige Black Label, which can be worn by women ranging from sizes 0 to 12 to the office or on the red carpet.

"It has a femininity that makes it not stuffy," she said.

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