By  on November 1, 2007

Agathe Planchon wants to capitalize on the success of her Gustto handbag line by expanding into denim.

Planchon introduced the high-end Gustto collection four years ago and is now looking to develop it into a full apparel collection. The first step in that effort will be the introduction of Gustto Denim Couture for spring.

"At the beginning, it was convenient fashion handbags, that was the idea I had in mind," she said. During the last two years, Planchon said the handbag line has strengthened its position in the market and built a loyal customer base, spurring her to further develop the brand.

"Basically, after you bring in one idea that's about creation and fashion you can go to the next step," she said. "I wanted to do denim because I thought I could bring something to the market that is not there right now."

Gustto's denim collection consists of three groups that take their names from towns on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia. Planchon said the styles within each group were designed to reflect a moment of the day in which they would likely be worn. The Cervo, for instance, comes in superskinny, skinny and straight-leg styles. It is positioned as the more fashion-forward group.

"This is the girl going out to the clubs," Planchon said. "It's more skinny and very, very sophisticated."

With the Pevero, Planchon sought balance with a jean that was a little more casual but still able to be dressed up. The third grouping is dubbed Romanzzion and is a casual bottom, featuring a higher waist and wider leg.

"The way I think — I'm European and we dress most of the time, we're not very casual," she said. "So even when we want to be casual we want a little touch of sophistication."

Planchon admitted that she had no experience with denim, forcing her to learn the industry from the ground up. She spent more than a year working with Japanese denim mills to create fabrics that included gold- and silver-flecked denim and a denim with a synthetic look. "I wanted to use different fabric; I wanted something special that the other brands don't have," she said.Gustto Denim Couture will retail for $280 to $360 and has been picked up for spring by Kitson in Los Angeles and

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