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About nine months after the bridge brand changed owners, Ellen Tracy is releasing the first signs of its makeover: a new logo and mark.
This story first appeared in the November 24, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The brand’s black-and-white block-print tags are being traded for a bronze and bone palette, inspired by a piece of bronze tweed.
“The fabric spoke to us about everything the Ellen Tracy woman is: lively, strong, daring, bold, confident, not perfect, warm,” said Mark Mendelson, Ellen Tracy’s chief executive officer since May. “Everything will have a warmer patina than steel, and it will be more feminine than the hard black-and-white label before.”
For the icon, two E’s form a T, which will be used on hangtags, tissue paper and tonal prints in linings. “It’s all subtle — our woman doesn’t want to wear E’s all over her,” Mendelson said. The logo was designed by David Lipman and his team.
The new color palette will also be used for Ellen Tracy’s new two-floor showroom at 1400 Broadway, where the brand will move at the end of the year.
Liz Claiborne Inc., which bought Ellen Tracy about six years ago for a reported $180 million, sold the brand for $42.3 million to a coalition of buyers that formed Fashionology Group LLC and Brand Matter LLC to house the brand. Ellen Tracy had slipped in volume from about $171 million when Claiborne bought it to about $100 million when the company was sold.
“The brand needs to be reinvented, and one of the quickest ways for a customer to know is a new logo,” Mendelson said. “But our product that we’ve fully designed doesn’t hit stores until July, so I’m being careful not to ask the customer to come look at us yet.”
The first product the new team was able to adapt hit the sales floors two weeks ago and is selling markedly better, Mendelson said. Spring has more of the new team’s focus and next fall’s collection will be the one the team will present as fully its own, which also will contain the new logo.
“We walked into a line that was very overdesigned and costumey. Our woman just wants normal clothes,” Mendelson said. “It didn’t get where it is in six months, and it won’t get changed in six months. The good news is, please God, we’ve bottomed out.”