The seven-year-old brand known best for its luxury footwear collection plans to discontinue its designer ready-to-wear line come spring and replace it with a full contemporary sportswear collection.
"We found that the contemporary customer who regularly shops our shoe line couldn't afford our designer price point for our ready-to-wear," said Holly Dunlap, founder and creative director of Hollywould, a division of Kellwood Co. "She doesn't have a problem spending $700 on a pair of shoes, but when it comes to her clothes, she doesn't want to spend as much on a dress."
So Dunlap decided to focus her attention on contemporary and the result is a 75-piece collection of silk jersey dresses, printed cotton chiffon gowns, cotton and jersey T-shirts, jackets and denim pants. The new line wholesales from $125 to $395, which is quite a change from the designer collection, which wholesaled between $400 and $600.
Dunlap said she plans to produce the contemporary line in Italy using European fabrics. The designer collection also was produced in Italy and designed at Dunlap's Florence-based design studio. She said she plans to lead the contemporary design in the same way, but will be able to keep the prices lower with expanded distribution.
"The shoes are made in Italy, so it's easier to keep everything there," she said. "And I didn't want to sacrifice the quality, so I'm using the same fabrics as I've always worked with."
Laura Vazquez, president of the company, said that, while she has yet to show the line to potential retailers, she is confident about the change in direction. "Retailers have been asking for a contemporary line for some time," Vazquez said. "So the interest is there."
Vazquez declined to give first-year sales expectations, but said the firm is targeting existing retailers as well as new stores to sell the line. High-end specialty and department stores such as Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Harvey Nichols top the list, she said.
"Now the ready-to-wear is very limited, only sold at select stores and at our boutiques," Dunlap explained. "The new price point really allows us to go after more stores and a younger, sexy customer, which is exciting for me as a designer."Kellwood acquired Hollywould in December and hopes to turn it into a full lifestyle brand. While Kellwood executives declined to comment on Hollywould's volume, industry sources estimate the brand brings in less than $5 million annually. Eventually, Dunlap wants the collection to include a wide range of product categories including lingerie, eyewear, denim, swimwear and even perfume.
The new focus on contemporary for Hollywould fits in with Kellwood's growth in the category. The apparel group last fall bought the Vince brand, which it plans to expand.
Dunlap said expanding her own freestanding stores is on the immediate agenda. Hollywould already operates stores in downtown Manhattan at 198 Elizabeth Street, and in Palm Beach, Fla., at 36 Via Mizner, and she said she hopes to open about four more stores next year. While she hasn't found locations yet, Dunlap said she is searching in cities such as Miami, Dallas, Los Angeles, Atlanta and San Francisco. She said she is also interested in opening a second Manhattan location, most likely on the Upper East Side.
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