By  on October 4, 2007

Helen Wang is growing up.

The contemporary designer, who became known for her fashionable but accessible day dresses, is launching a higher-end collection called HW Helen Wang for spring. The line, which consists entirely of dresses for day and evening, is targeted toward a new customer.

"I want people to look at this collection with a fresh mind," she said. "I see this line for a different woman, looking for a timeless, not trendy, look."

The collection, which is available for sales at the Globe Showroom in New York, consists of about 50 pieces. There are hand-embroidered evening gowns with taffeta bow details, delicate beading and pleating on silk chiffon short dresses and long printed silk gowns, which Wang said she sees as red-carpet appropriate. In addition, there are layered chiffon strapless gowns with a chain wrapped around the waist for a bit of a rocker-inspired look.

The HW Helen Wang collection wholesales from $230 to $380, while the Helen Wang line wholesales from about $100 to $120. Wang said she is targeting high-end specialty retailers worldwide for the new collection and expects to reach $1 million in wholesale volume for the first year.

"This line is what I've always wanted to design," she said. "It gives me a lot of creative freedom, and I'm really happy with how it turned out."

Wang said she came up with the idea when customers starting coming into her SoHo store asking for higher-end social occasion dresses. One customer in particular, actress Keri Russell, purchased a dress and wore it to a red-carpet event in the summer. Soon after Russell's photograph appeared in magazines, Wang sold out of that particular style. She said that made her think that now would be a good time to create dressier, more intricately designed pieces. She wanted many of them to be appropriate for daytime wear as well.

"Dresses are part of a woman's lifestyle today," Wang said. "Women should be able to wear their fancier dresses during the day. They shouldn't only be saved for special occasions."

For fall, Wang said she plans to add novelty elements to complement the dresses, such as small evening bags and evening jackets and coats. The HW Helen Wang collection will also be sold in her SoHo store along with the full Helen Wang collection.

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