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Vera Wang Signs Dress License With The Levy Group

A capsule collection will be introduced in March for fall retail selling.

NEW YORK — Vera Wang has licensed the Levy Group, an outerwear and dress firm here, to produce and market a dress line under the Vera Wang label.

This story first appeared in the January 29, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

A capsule collection will be introduced in March for fall retail selling.

“We were negotiating for a while. Our goal was to move Lavender over to very experienced dress people,” said Mario Grauso, president of Vera Wang. “We wanted to find a partner who was well versed and had super retailer relationships and had built successful brands. They seem very devoted and interested in the brand.”

Most recently, Wang had been producing a small Lavender eveningwear collection of dresses in-house. “Our assortments were tiny. It was too challenging for a company not well versed in that business to source fabric,” said Grauso.

Wang first launched Lavender for spring 2005 as a line of cocktail and evening dresses for dress departments, but repositioned it for spring 2007 as a contemporary business replete with separates. After a hiatus, it returned to the market in 2011 with a capsule evening dress collection for Neiman Marcus.

Wang calls its designer line Vera Wang Collection, which allowed the middle price range to be called Vera Wang, said Grauso.

The Vera Wang dress collection, which will include daytime, cocktail and eveningwear looks, will wholesale from $130 to $180. Grauso said there will be a wide assortment of styles, including knits and prints. “It will be a modern, diverse dress collection,” he said. Grauso declined to give a first-year sales projection. Don Levy, president of the Levy Group, couldn’t be reached for comment Monday.

Grauso said the line will be manufactured both domestically and in the Far East. He noted that Wang’s team will manage the design process and will have approval of all product. The Levy Group will have a dedicated team working on the line. The dresses will be shown at the Levy Group’s offices at 512 Seventh Avenue. The company is designing a dedicated space within its showroom for the Vera Wang dress line.

The Levy Group designs outerwear and dresses for Betsey Johnson, and produces for such brands as Nautica, Buffalo, Dawn Levy and Laundry by Shelli Segal.

Wang’s licensees range from tabletop and stationery to footwear; eyewear; bedding; Simply Vera Vera Wang, an exclusive collection for Kohl’s; White by Vera Wang, an exclusive collection for David’s Bridal, and Vera Wang Love jewelry, exclusively for Zales.