Elizabeth & James Footwear to Launch in 2009

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen sign deal with Steve Madden Ltd.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are piling on the accessories.

This story first appeared in the September 24, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Dualstar Entertainment Group, their management firm, has signed Steven Madden Ltd. to create a collection of footwear under the Elizabeth and James brand. The collection is scheduled to hit high-end specialty retailers in mid-2009. The sisters will head the design of the footwear collection as creative directors while Madden plans to hire a dedicated designer and sales team to sell the line.

The new Elizabeth and James footwear is meant to complement Mary-Kate and Ashley’s Elizabeth and James contemporary sportswear collection, which is sold in more than 300 doors globally including Intermix and Saks Fifth Avenue. They also signed a deal with Robert Lee Morris for a line of fashion jewelry under the Elizabeth and James brand, which hit stores this fall.

In addition to Elizabeth and James, the sisters have a significant merchandising and branding business that, in the past, has been estimated at about $1 billion. They’ve made a significant dent in the industry over the past 17 years — having gone from selling DVDs at Wal-Mart to $600 skirts at Barneys New York from their high-end ready-to-wear label, The Row.