Even better dress market stalwart Donna Morgan LLC is embracing the contemporary market.
Following the adoption of a younger look by the better-priced line after its spring 2005 relaunch, Donna Morgan is making its first foray into contemporary with a collection called Ali Ro for fall.
"This dress cycle is not just a cycle; it has introduced dresses to a whole new generation," said Kathleen McFeeters, president and chief executive office of Donna Morgan. "Younger women have embraced dresses as something they want in their lifestyle, and they aren't going to let them go."
McFeeters named the contemporary line after her 18-year-old daughter, Alexandra, as well as her mother, Rosemary.
For the first year she projects the collection — which wholesales from $98 to $198 — will have estimated wholesale sales of $10 million, smaller than Donna Morgan's $35 million.
The New York company hired a separate design team for the new line. "You wouldn't know it's the same company from looking at it," McFeeters said. "Where Donna Morgan is classic, Ali Ro is about fashion."
Unlike the rest of the company's fare, Ali Ro is not just dresses. Although McFeeters projects dresses will always make up well over half the line, Ali Ro is a full contemporary lifestyle collection, complete with blouses, tunics, jackets and, come spring, bottoms.
Ali Ro is offered in size 0 to 12. All the line's fabrics are proprietary, and each month brings a new color story to about 20 silhouettes.
Ali Ro had a soft launch for this spring at Bloomingdale's and Lord & Taylor; the full launch is scheduled for fall, and will add a host of specialty stores to its retail partner list.
A Stella McCartney sketch of a custom dress made from protein-based silk in partnership with biotech lab Bolt Threads. The dress will be displayed at The Museum of Modern Art's upcoming design exhibition, "Items: Is Fashion Modern?"