WWD.com/fashion-news/fashion-features/meet-me-in-the-middle-762572/
government-trade
government-trade

Meet Me in the Middle

NEW YORK — The Limited Inc.’s Express stores are changing in a big way and denim plays a major role.<P>The company plans to open dual-gender stores that will carry men’s and women’s merchandise under the Express label....

NEW YORK — The Limited Inc.’s Express stores are changing in a big way and denim plays a major role.

This story first appeared in the May 30, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The company plans to open dual-gender stores that will carry men’s and women’s merchandise under the Express label. Men’s wear retailer Structure, which is also owned by The Limited Inc., will close and men can find their clothes at Express for Men. The Express and Express for Men stores will share a joined denim area, where men and women meet to shop for jeans.

To celebrate the opening of the dual-gender stores, Express will partner with Genius magazine editor-in-chief Marvin Scott Jarrett and models Mini Anden and Karolina Kurkova to host parties for three stores: New York’s SoHo neighborhood, Hollywood & Highland mall in Los Angeles and Miami’s Aventura Mall. All three parties will take place at the end of July within a one-week period.

“Denim plays an enormous part in today’s global fashion culture and Express is on the forefront of innovating the trends that today’s young women and men are seeking,” said Michael Weiss, president and chief executive officer of Express. “As soon as we heard about Marvin’s concept for Genius, we saw an immediate synergy between the artistic approach that was applying to denim and the way that the Express brand approaches jeanswear.”

For fall, Express plans to expand its denim selection in two ways. Cheryl Benedict, vice president of of design for women’s jeanswear at Express, said one collection is feminine with a bohemian and romantic feel. The line includes floral peasant tops, shearling jackets and coats to work well with the fall denim. The other line is more urban, with a “harder edge,” she said. That line includes black denim jeans, jackets and vests, as well as torn denim jeans with a vintage look.

Express will also concentrate on advertising its denim selection with a denim-heavy ad campaign, which will run in August and September magazines. The campaign will feature Anden and Kurkova and was shot by Max Vadukul.

Express had net sales of $1.542 billion in 2001 and operates 667 stores in 46 states. Structure, which will become Express for Men, had net sales of $502 million in 2001 and operated 439 stores in 43 states.