By  on September 26, 2006

NEW YORK — With bridal and ready-to-wear under her embroidered and beaded belt, and a more mainstream line on the way for Kohl’s, Vera Wang’s résumé just keeps growing.

Now the designer is adding one more category by moving into the contemporary area — one of retail’s hottest — with her Lavender Label. When Lavender was launched for spring 2005, it consisted mainly of cocktail and evening dresses and was sold in dress departments, but Wang is repositioning the line for spring into a contemporary collection replete with separates.

Wang said she had always aimed to enter the contemporary scene because she liked the idea of a collection that maintained her artisanal aesthetic, but was more approachable in its pricing than her main line.

“It makes me so happy that people can buy Lavender, whereas Collection is for the very few,” Wang said. “I like to see Lavender grow because I think it’s realistic and relevant. Collection is relevant because not one of the ideas for the other lines would come without it. With Lavender, I am hoping we can develop a vocabulary, which I think is there already, and take it further.”

Wang explained the diffusion line had its origins, albeit conceptual, in the bridesmaids’ category. The designer had once dabbled in lower-priced bridesmaids’ dresses, which became a costly venture, and plans to extend it into more of a secondary dress collection eventually fizzled. When Susan Sokol became president of Vera Wang Apparel in 2004, the idea was resurrected, and Lavender Label was introduced.

“When we first launched Lavender, we saw that there was a void in the space of modern dresses at this price point,” Sokol said. “As the business evolved, and dresses as a classification soared, we wanted to leverage our knowledge of dresses, and we decided to add separates to really capture the contemporary space.

“It gives us the ability to build volume,” she added.

For spring, the company is doubling the number of pieces to about 120, including separates, which will account for 25 percent of the overall designs. Wang’s aesthetic vocabulary in her runway rtw collection is also present in Lavender. Pieces include metallic jackets, cotton brocade coats, textured organza camisoles and crinkled silk charmeuse dresses with ruffle details. Looks have been styled to mix fabrics and patterns, such as a cotton brocade coat paired with a textured organza floral top and lamé shorts. Details range from beaded rosettes that adorn cardigans and dresses to delicate panels of pleated fabric on tops — in short, “Vera-isms,” according to the designer. “I love very strange details, like pleating and tucking and strange ways of creating ornamentation and mixtures of fabrics,” she said, explaining a “Vera-ism.”

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