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Drafting off shoppers’ interest in her wedding dresses for David’s Bridal, Vera Wang has unveiled a bridesmaid dress collection under the White by Vera Wang label for the 300-plus unit chain.
Last year Wang exited the bridesmaid business after deciding she didn’t have enough access to the collection and couldn’t run it in a way that was timely. In an interview, Wang said, the alliance with David’s Bridal has allowed her to develop bridesmaid dresses “in a much larger and more unusual way with a tremendous amount of support. They are up for anything I am interested in trying.”
This story first appeared in the April 19, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The seven-piece line of dresses in such shades as orchid, amethyst, charcoal and champagne will ship to 250 David Bridal’s stores in late June. But the designer noted “these dresses are not inexpensive,” with a few retailing for $200. (More cost-conscious brides will find a $158 opening price point.) A one-shoulder short dress with a bubble skirt adorned with oversize rosettes is geared for style-minded wedding parties. But there are also more traditional choices such as a short dress with horizontal pleats and a sleeveless chiffon column dress with swag skirt.
More formal options can be found in a satin asymmetrical design with a bias cut or a strapless draped gown paired with a grosgrain sash. “Everyone is doing the long skirt now. I never thought we would see that come back but it has,” she said. “It just felt right.”
Each dress is meant to convey “a very youthful” spirit — something Wang keeps track of by how her two Millennial-age daughters and their friends like to dress. How that translates to the world of retail is something that New York-based MODCo. helped Wang and her company’s president Mario Grauso define. That called for field trips to David’s Bridal stores. “We wanted to see how everything was merchandised within the stores, not just the clothing. We looked at the hangers, the signage, the logo,” she said.
A shoe collection also will hit the retailer’s stores in late June. The four shoe styles — a pump, a ballerina flat, a peep-toe pump and an open-toe bootie with a grosgrain ribbon — will retail from $58 to $98. The idea is not to flood the stores with too much of any one thing.
“We’re growing gradually as a business and we are in a good place. We’re in a very solid position and we’re trying to build on that consistency and creativity,” Wang said. “It definitely has not been the easiest of times since two and half years ago when the market went down and the world went with it. Other designers might not tell you that, but it’s the truth.”
As for how Wang reinvents bridal from one season to the next and churns out design ideas for 40-plus categories, she said, “The secret is I always wonder how I could do it better, push the envelope farther and do it on a better budget,” she said. “Nothing is done without thought.”