By  on March 2, 2005

NEW YORK — Ennio Capasa, head designer for Milan-based Costume National, knew there was only one place to look for inspiration for the company’s contemporary collection. He turned to the streets.

From there, C’N’C Costume National, the younger, edgier sister to the designer line, was born. The collection, which was launched for fall 2004 selling in Milan, will be introduced to U.S. stores in June.

“Basically, I am trying to bring a new concept into streetwear,” Capasa said by telephone from his Milan office. “It’s modern sophistication. I think there has been an evolution of the consumer and the desire is to now have streetwear.”

C’N’C Costume National, as Capasa puts it, is “a sophisticated jeanswear collection.” Ittierre, manufacturer of such secondary lines as D&G, Versus and Just Cavalli, will distribute and produce the line. C’N’C Costume National is priced 25 to 30 percent lower than Costume National.

While denim is undoubtedly the nucleus, the spring collection encompasses nondenim tops, skirts, dresses, outerwear, accessories and footwear. There are 298 women’s clothing pieces and 88 accessories. T-shirts will retail for roughly $145; jeans, $280; basic knits, $325, and leather jackets, $1,000.

 Italy was home to the official launch of the collection last fall. The launch brought in more than 10 million euros, or $13.2 million at current conversion rates.

“We wanted the collection to arrive in the States when it was more focused,” said Capasa. “I feel much more satisfied now.

Like Costume National, C’N’C’s focus is on fit and sophistication. “We have both of those things in this new collection,” said Enrico Di Muccio, chief executive officer of IT USA, the American branch of Ittierre, in an interview at the company’s showroom here.  “The difference is in the mood.”

Capasa agreed. “Costume National is more luxury,” he said. “C’N’C is more modern streetwear. It’s a collection that can take a woman from morning to night.” Key pieces for spring include chiffon dresses, metallic jackets, skinny-leg jeans and bustiers.“Women today are more aware of fashion and they are much more, in a way, refined, but still very chic and still with the energy of the streets,” Capasa said.

The collection is aimed at women between the ages of 15 and 32. “Those women are waiting for something exciting,” Di Muccio added. “This is the moment to do something younger.” He expects C’N’C’s wholesale volume to reach $1 million to $1.5 million in the U.S. this year.

“The only concern I have is that the economic situation now is not the economic situation of 10 years ago,” Di Muccio said.

The collection will be available in specialty stores such as Barneys New York and The Lounge in New York and Chasalla in Chicago.

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