By  on June 14, 2007

Actress Constance Marie wants her new line to be affordable to women on real budgets and flattering on women with real bodies.

The Constance Marie collection, produced by California manufacturer BIYAYCDA (Believe in Yourself and You Can Do Anything), will launch exclusively at Mervyns' 174 doors in September.

In an interview Wednesday in New York, the actress said she'd "been looking for something like this to work on for a couple of years," and had been waiting for the right partners. "For me, it's not just making clothes."

She chose Mervyns and BIYAYCDA because of both businesses' emphasis on community and giving back, she said, while modeling her line. As reported, the Constance Marie collection marks Mervyns' first foray into celebrity apparel.

Five percent of sales from the collection will be donated to the BIYAYCDA Foundation, which funds after-school programs for underprivileged children.

"I know what it's like to not have a lot of money," said the actress, who was born in East Los Angeles but grew up in West Hollywood. "Growing up, I barely had enough clothes to go half of the week. I had a little chart to make sure I didn't repeat too often. I've been hunting for a deal since I was seven."

The line — which includes fluid dresses, cropped jackets and silky tops — will sell for $28 to $68. The tags read "You deserve to be confident, stylish and comfortable!"

"I've been an actress for 23 years, and I've learned to maximize the good and minimize the bad — without cosmetic surgery," said the 41-year-old Marie, pointing to a silky camisole with a fitted lace section around the ribs beneath the bust that billows under. "It's fitted in your tiniest part, and then it gives room below so you can have a pasta dinner."

Half of West Coast-focused Mervyns' customers are Latino, and the store has said Marie resonates with its core customers.

"The George Lopez Show," in which Marie starred the last six seasons, was recently canceled, but will remain in syndication. "The good news is now I have time to be really hands-on," said Marie, who plans to make store appearances on the West Coast come September.Last month, Mervyns' executives declined to disclose the projected volume of the Constance Marie collection, but said it should exceed the chain's average of $300 in sales per square foot, in part because the price points are skewed a bit higher than Mervyns' merchandise overall, and because the collection will be heavily promoted.

The line will be offered in misses', women's and petite sizes. If it does well, it may expand into accessories and sleepwear, said Marie.

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