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NEW YORK — Giambattista Valli’s name falls into the category of “designers you wouldn’t normally see at Macy’s.”
This story first appeared in the August 18, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Martine Reardon, executive vice president of marketing and advertising, admitted that Macy’s isn’t the first place consumers think of when it comes to high-end fashion, but that’s just the point. Enlisting designers such as Valli — whose exclusive limited time collection for Macy’s bows on Oct. 26 — has been a way “of bringing in new customers to the store and reinforcing our fashion credentials to our existing customers,” she said.
The fourth designer in the retailer’s collaboration series, the Giambattista Valli for Impulse Only at Macy’s collection, will be available in 225 Macy’s units with Impulse departments and on macy’s.com. It’s no coincidence that Valli was chosen to design the collection leading into holiday; his creations feature exaggerated layers of tulle, feather-covered garments, enormous bows and wild mixes of animal prints. Valli’s collection for Macy’s touches on all the same themes, including feminine fabrics, bold prints and riotous color, lace, tweed, brocade, fake fur and point d’esprit tulle. The collection’s cocktail dresses, skirts, blouses, lightweight jackets, edgy pants and graphic T-shirts mainly have a red and black palette infused with gold, gray and fuchsia. Items are priced from $50 to $150.
Macy’s said Valli’s collection will appeal to “fierce fashionistas.” “He is a visionary talent known for extravagant designs, so heading into the holiday season is a perfect moment for his creations in our stores,” said Jeff Gennette, Macy’s Inc.’s chief merchandising officer. “This collection strikes just the right balance between youthfulness and sophistication, speaking directly to our fashion Impulse customer.”
“Our customer loves fashion,” said Reardon, noting that Impulse caters to Millennials. “[She] can’t necessarily go to couture fashion shows and doesn’t want to spend $1,000.”
Valli, who launched his signature couture collection in Paris in 2005, was formerly senior designer at Krizia and headed Emanuel Ungaro’s design studio. The Macy’s project is Valli’s first foray into affordable fashion.
Macy’s capsule program kicked off with Kinder Aggugini in February, followed by Matthew Williamson in April. Karl Lagerfeld’s designs for Impulse will bow in September. Then, Lagerfeld and the three other featured designers will return to create exclusive product for Macy’s for holiday selling.
“The series is deeply rooted in consumer insight and research,” Reardon said. “It’s part of our strategy for going after the Millennial consumer who is passionate about fashion.”
Reardon said Macy’s already has designers lined up for next spring when the program kicks off again. “Look for us to be doing new things in the spring,” she said. “We’re looking at other apparel categories. We’re also looking at shoes, handbags and jewelry. Anything is possible for the future.”