The Top 10: Dresses/Suits – Bigger, Bolder and Better
In the suitS and dressES category, the three top slots — Liz Claiborne, Ann Taylor and Sag Harbor — are some of the country’s largest vendors of career apparel, a category that has seen renewed interest as more companies frown upon...
In the suitS and dressES category, the three top slots — Liz Claiborne, Ann Taylor and Sag Harbor — are some of the country’s largest vendors of career apparel, a category that has seen renewed interest as more companies frown upon the business casual policies that became popular in the late Nineties.
However, whether a company makes an affordable daytime suit or a $3,000 evening gown, all the brands in the top 10 share one important trend: diversification.
Whether publicly or privately held, expanding into other markets is an important growth strategy, especially for Seventh Avenue powerhouses that have evolved into holding companies, such as Liz Claiborne, Jones New York, LF Brands and Kellwood Co., which owns Sag Harbor Suits and produces suits for Liz Claiborne.
For example, the Liz Claiborne stable includes over 30 brands and saw its 28th consecutive quarter of sales growth this year when it reported figures in May; Ann Taylor reported its highest earnings from its 48-year history, largely due to the performance of its more casual Loft division; Sag Harbor’s $500 million estimated volume makes it the biggest brand at Kellwood, which houses around 40 brands, and Jones New York Dress is part of Jones Apparel Group, which represents over 15 brands, including Evan Picone Dress at number nine.
Though Jones New York Dress offers both daytime and evening dresses, Jessica McClintock and Vera Wang, which occupy the fifth and sixth spots, respectively, focus on eveningwear and bridal gowns.
Wang and McClintock continue to diversify their brands —McClintock’s junior Gunne Sax line lent muscle to her overall business, and Wang with ready-to-wear, which launched in 1994 but, according to Wang, has only recently picked up its pace.
Last year both designers moved beyond apparel: The Jessica McClintock line launched a furniture collection called the Jessica McClintock Romance Collection with furniture manufacturer American Drew, while Wang launched her first fragrance in February 2002.
The Kathie Lee Collection’s distribution at Wal-Mart has helped the brand increase its profile among U.S. consumers. However, shoppers won’t be seeing the collection for much longer since Wal-Mart announced plans in April to cease carrying the line after the holiday season, ending an eight-year run of what was once a $700 million business at its peak. Kathie Lee Collection is also owned by Kellwood.At number eight is Oleg Cassini, the charismatic 90-year-old designer who was awarded the Board of Directors’ Special Tribute by the Council of Fashion Designers of America at its awards show this month. Currently on the market are Oleg Cassini fragrances and licensed Oleg Cassini bridal gowns, suits, eveningwear and active sportswear.
In addition, his name still strikes a chord with consumers who remember his high-profile romances with women like Grace Kelly, as well as when he designed clothes for former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy.
Though Evan Picone has been owned by Jones New York for about nine years, the brand was expanded to include a moderate dress line about two years ago. The success of the brand with consumers has helped to make it the a top-selling dress resource in several moderate department stores, according to president Barbara Kennedy. That, combined with strong consumer recognition from its popular sportswear line, helped put it at number nine.
Perhaps the clearest example of a company trying to diversify is LF Brands, which owns the moderate dress line in the number 10 spot, Leslie Fay. Formerly known as the Leslie Fay Co., it changed to LF Brands in April to reinforce its image as a holding company. They include Leslie Fay, Joan Leslie, David Warren, D.W. Studio, Rimini and Cynthia Steffe.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)