Dolce Vita Flirts With Dresses

At Dolce Vita, the sweet life must be accompanied by a cute cocktail dress.

At Dolce Vita, the sweet life must be accompanied by a cute cocktail dress.

This story first appeared in the December 19, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Six years after introducing its distinctively edgy shoes worn by celebrities such as Jessica Simpson and Lindsay Lohan, the New York-based company plans to offer flirty floral minidresses and tiered silk slipdresses that pop in hot pink and other looks that will wholesale between $95 and $130.

The new spring styles represent the next stage in Dolce Vita’s diversification into apparel, which began with last year’s inaugural lineup of shirtdresses and other simple silhouettes accentuated with pleats. For spring, Dolce Vita will incorporate floral prints, bold spring colors, silks and linens in some 75 styles.

“We were getting a lot of requests for clothing and want to create a global brand,” said Kristy Eko, director of retail clothing. The footwear is sold at Nordstrom, Shopbop.com and Anthropologie, among other retailers.

Dolce Vita isn’t the first shoe purveyor to look beyond feet for its designs. New York’s Steve Madden Ltd. entered the frock frenzy last spring with a dress line. Dolce Vita plans to test the new looks in its three stores in New York, Los Angeles and Santa Monica, Calif. Retailers that have picked up the dress line include American Rag Cie and Urban Outfitters. The line is being shown in New York at 156 Ludlow Street.

First-year wholesale volume of the dress line is estimated at $2 million.

Like the shoes, Dolce Vita’s dresses are intended to embody what Eko described as “subversive elegance.” For instance, designer Anna McCraney draped cotton, linen and silk gabardine in vibrant hues such as fuchsia and electric blue.

“Our customer is slightly on the alternative side but she is classy, elegant and trendy,” Eko said.