By  on September 18, 2013

Elie Tahari has found his designated denim guru.

The entrepreneurial chairman of the firm that bears his name has brought on market veteran Michael Press to head a new denim venture, dubbed Greywire, as president. Greywire is slated for a spring launch and will include about 20 styles of women’s and men’s jeans complemented by jackets, knit and woven tops, pants and shorts.

Press’ résumé includes start-up and management posts at some of the major premium and upscale denim brands of the last 20 years, including Diesel, Polo Jeans, AG Adriano Goldschmied, Paige Denim and Earnest Sewn. He was most recently president of textiles at Elizabeth and James following a stint as president of Vintage Revolution.

Greywire seeks to fill what appears to be the growing space between the premium market, generally carrying retail prices of $200 and above, and more moderately priced jeans selling at under $100, with basic and fashion pieces in the $118 to $180 retail range. Expected to sell at about a two-to-one ratio of women’s to men’s initially, jeans silhouettes in women’s include a skinny, boot cut, straight leg, flare and boyfriend. In men’s, the assortment includes relaxed, slim boot cut and a tapered straight leg.

Speaking at the Coterie show Tuesday as he previewed the line for retailers, Press positioned the Tahari sensibility and the denim category as a natural match.

“Elie is a man who can outfit a woman in a $5,000 dress and still look at putting her into a $140 pair of jeans with exactly the same passion,” he said. “I’ve worked with people who just don’t have the same passion when they take the product to a lower price. And with the onslaught of the H&Ms and the Topshops of the world, price has become an issue but it can’t ever be a justification for a product that is anything but overwhelmingly strong. People don’t want to have to spend $250 to get something great. We’re aiming for attainable luxury here.”

Responding to questions via e-mail during a trip out of the country, Tahari noted that his existing collections included denim but simply didn’t make a strong enough statement in the category.


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