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The designer, who launched her Rachel Rachel Roy contemporary brand exclusively with Macy’s this fall, is unveiling another full sportswear collection called Rachel Roy Signature, meant to sit in the bridge department. The concept, according to Rachel Roy New York president Stephen Ruzow, was to create a “modern bridge” line that sits at the opening price point on the floor, but still offers the signature elements Roy has become known for in her high-end Rachel Roy Collection label. The new brand will roll out to specialty and department stores for spring selling.
This story first appeared in the October 1, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“We’ve seen a real need for a line like this from our retail partners,” Ruzow explained. “They need to have lower-priced merchandise on the floor, but aren’t willing to sacrifice the quality. I also thought that we had a void here internally between the Collection line and the Rachel Rachel Roy line. I think we’ve managed to fill that with the Signature line.”
The collection offers an array of options for spring — mixed fabric dresses such as one with a printed silk chiffon top and stretch cotton bottom and another with a silk and sequin top with wool tweed bottom. There are denim dresses and trousers, hammered silk blouses and lightweight jacquard pants, skirts and high-waisted shorts, knit dresses and sweaters, blazers, jackets and trenchcoats and printed sequin dresses with printed silk chiffon linings. The color palette ranges from bright pink, coral and lime green to tan, black and white. The line wholesales from $80 to $290. The first delivery is set to hit stores in February, and Ruzow said he plans to ship the collection eight times a year.
Ruzow said he is gearing the collection to high-end specialty and department stores and hopes to serve the bridge departments of the stores that sell the Rachel Roy Collection line such as Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue. After a busy Fashion Coterie show last week where he first debuted the line to retailers, Ruzow said he is headed to Paris on Friday to meet with various stores there.
“Orders are due by Oct. 5, and I’m thinking we should be pleased,” said Ruzow.
Roy is entering the bridge arena just after an array of others have left — Ellen Tracy recently said it would shift into better, Dana Buchman headed out in favor of an exclusive deal with Kohl’s, St. John’s SoCal label folded and Premise was a short-lived brand on the floor. Ruzow said he isn’t intimidated by these closures, but sees it as an opportunity to learn from the mistakes made by others to make Rachel Roy Signature a stand-out on the floor.
“Because so many have left, we see this as an underserved market which could end up being a significant piece of our business,” he said. “There’s a huge void on the floor now and the stores have the open-to-buy dollars for something like this.”
Ruzow declined to give first-year sales volume expectations for the Rachel Roy Signature brand.