Louis Van Amstel, the ballroom dance champion and choreographer of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” is launching his first collection of fitness apparel, LVA by Louis Van Amstel.
This story first appeared in the September 10, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Van Amstel, who will be partnered with Sabrina Bryan on the all-star season of “DWTS,” which airs Sept. 24, said the active collection for fall selling has been three years in the making.
“I’ve been designing dresses for my dance partners since I was 17, and I started designing for celebrities seven years ago. When you design garments for splits and turns, you have to dress them so there won’t be a costume drama,” said Van Amstel.
Van Amstel, who created LaBlast in 2007, a DVD dance fitness program that is slated to be distributed worldwide this year, said he designed the active collection to “get people in shape.”
“My initial thought was I want to fight obesity through dance…I researched who could be my competition, like Lululemon and Nike, and concluded no one is designing active garments for women who want to lose 50 pounds — like my mother, Mick. LVA is aimed at Whitney Houston’s ‘I’m Every Woman’ type of consumer,” he explained. “And it’s inspired to help women like Niecy Nash from season 10 of ‘DWTS,’ who told me, ‘I don’t want to lose my weight because I like my jiggly parts.”
A star piece of the collection — which is sized XS to XL and features more than a dozen styles — is a flare-leg work-out pant with a control-top waistband that can be pulled up to contain midriff bulge, or adjusted as a control belt as a woman sheds off weight after diet and exercise. Several tops are designed with three-quarter sleeves to camouflage an area he describes as the number-one complaint of women: untoned triceps.
Colors in the collection include black, charcoal, heather gray, white, a range of blues and a shade Van Amstel calls “diva pink.” Production of the garments of Modal, nylon, Lycra spandex and Supplex is in Los Angeles, Thailand and China. Retail prices have not been finalized.
Van Amstel projects retail sales the first full year will be $20 million. He bases the sales outlook on his LaBlast program, which has partnered with several major fitness gyms where the line will be sold: Crunch in the U.S., Steve Nash Fitness Clubs in Canada, Hard Candy in Russia, and Jackie Chan Signature Club (a partnership with California Fitness). Plans are to roll out the line to additional markets by 2014.