By  on September 16, 2008

Contemporary knitwear lines Splendid and Ella Moss will launch woven collections for spring 2009 today at Coterie in New York.

"We've been working on the collections for over a year," said Moise Emquies, chief executive officer and founder of Los Angeles-based Mo Industries, which manufactures Splendid and Ella Moss. "It's a natural progression to add bottoms to a tops-driven line."

The primary challenge was to find fabrics as soft as the Modal jersey from which the tops are made. For dressier line Ella Moss, creative director Pamella Protzel used a nubby light blue chambray for the first delivery, and a garment-dyed Japanese twill for the second delivery.

"Ella Moss has been known to be a very item-driven collection up to now, so I saw this as a good chance to round out the brand as a full collection and create pieces that will complement the designs each season," she said.

The trend-driven pieces include wide-leg trousers, high-waisted pencil skirts, rompers, jumpers, shorts, vests and skirts with details such as wood buttons, pleating and pintucks. Each collection comprises five to six stockkeeping units, with Ella Moss woven pieces retailing around $170 and Splendid at $150.

For Splendid, the more basic sister brand, the goal was to design Japanese twill bottoms and one jacket style that can carry over from season to season. "The whole idea was for the pants to offer the same soft feel as the tops, so they will have waistbands and pockets lined in the same jersey, Emquies said. 

Both lines will feature a palette of neutrals, along with a handful of seasonal fashion colors. Emquies said he would be pleased if the woven groups made up 10 to 20 percent of the total business, and forecasted about $2 million in first-year sales for each line.

"We think most stores will merchandise the wovens along with the tops," he said.

Future brand extensions include accessories, bags and shoes for Ella Moss and outerwear for Splendid.

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