Windy City Welcomes Temperley to Neiman’s

Maybe it was the rainy, blustery weather.

View Slideshow

CHICAGO — Maybe it was the rainy, blustery weather.

London-based designer Alice Temperley apparently felt right at home in Chicago, extending a one-hour personal appearance last month into a daylong trunk show at Neiman Marcus on Michigan Avenue.

“It was one of our best trunk shows with Neiman’s ever,” said Andrea Castagno, executive vice president for Temperley London, who declined to release sales figures. “The response in Chicago was tremendous. We were writing orders right up until they were packing things up.”

Temperley, who showed her spring collection during a fashion show at Neiman’s Oct. 27, greeted customers the following day from the time the doors opened at 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Business was nonstop.

“Chicago was very receptive to her collection,” said Tina Koegel, Neiman’s public relations manager. “Even some of our sales associates bought some of her pieces.”

Top sellers included a tan cropped leather jacket for $1,400, a black short-sleeved cotton trenchcoat that can double as a dress for $2,510 and a zebra-print knit minidress in silk yarn for $1,100.

About 300 people attended the fashion show and party hosted by In Style magazine, which started about 40 minutes later than expected because the models from Los Angeles were delayed. Then the music stopped halfway into the fashion presentation, resuming a few minutes before the finale.

Temperley more than made up for the glitches the following day, chatting with clients and accompanying them into the fitting room for sizing.

“She’s very hands-on,” Koegel said.

Temperley said maintaining a connection with clients and keeping the garments’ hand-crafted quality are crucial elements in the growth of her brand, which made a name when celebrities including Scarlett Johansson and Mischa Barton coveted the pretty party dresses.

“They come to find us,” said Temperley, who added that she has not paid celebrities for endorsements. “It’s not pushed down their throats.”

Temperley London is in 280 doors in 35 countries, including 19 Neiman Marcus locations, and has three stand-alone boutiques in London, New York and Los Angeles. Temperley said she is looking to expand in Russia, where the brand has grown in a short time.

This story first appeared in the November 7, 2006 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Temperley London features a new handbag collection introduced this spring, as well as White Label ready-to-wear separates priced from $400 for a basic camisole to $1,300 for knit dresses, and Black Label eveningwear including corseted gowns costing as much as $5,000 to $6,000.

View Slideshow