NEW YORK — “We don’t take ourselves too seriously,” said Houston-based accessory, footwear and jewelry designer Elaine Turner. Sitting on one of the two pink sofas in her 1,500-square-foot Madison Avenue boutique, which opened on Black Friday, Turner puts a cheerful spin on her namesake company’s attitude and style. “It’s all about an aesthetic — it’s ladylike, Texas glam, always feminine, classic but updated and fun.”Underneath the Texas charm, there’s a head for building the 13-year-old business. She’s a partner in Elaine Turner with her husband Jim and others who are in the process of raising money to roll out stores and broaden the offering. Currently, the fashion firm is roughly 80 percent owned by the Turner family; the remaining 20 percent is owned by a group from the asset management firm Fayez Sarofim & Co. and a few other individuals.“We are still working on closing a $7 million round of growth equity funding,” said Jim Turner. “We are negotiating with a handful of firms, but there is one that is potentially leading the round. We plan to close at the end of January.”The company operates seven retail stores and a Web site, wholesales to specialty stores including the Neiman Marcus Group and its Cusp contemporary department, and has a showroom at 320 Fifth Avenue here. Volume is approaching $10 million. “The plan is to ramp up to 50 stores over the next five years and really ramp up our Web site,” Jim Turner added. “We have the platform, the team, the foundation and the confidence to open multiple stores. The product is ready. The store model is worked out. All the building blocks are in place, and we have some critical mass as well.” The team includes a handful of executives from some competitors, including Monica Garza, director of stores, who came from Michael Kors, and Patty Wade, the chief information officer and a former Chico’s executive. This season, jewelry was introduced to the collection — about 20 stockkeeping units including earrings, necklaces, bangles and cuffs. Sunglasses and a smattering of apparel that’s “selective and very item-y” such as caftans and swimwear are being considered, said Elaine Turner. “We really want to be a lifestyle brand but accessories-focused,” she added.The collection fares best with clutches, hobos and shoulder bags, typically in raffia, leather and cork, with pink jacquard linings, bamboo accents and crown hardware. In footwear, the wedges, booties and riding boots are most popular. The brand is considered “accessible luxury,” priced $200 to $600. High-income women ages 35 to 45 who shop and travel a lot and are typically married with children are targeted with handbags that are equally suitable for either a soiree or the kids’ soccer game.“She’s a crossover shopper,” Elaine Turner said, describing her customer. The Madison Avenue boutique, on 82nd Street next to the Jonathan Adler store, “was a dream of ours. We met in New York,” said Jim, a former investment banker. “It took us two years of looking before we found the right space. It was kind of a diamond in the rough, owned by the estate of Alexander Radon and never updated. We wanted to be in a residential area, to create a neighborhood store.” That helps with their “client-driven” approach to selling, which involves efforts to get to know customers beyond just a few superficial details. Each store stages three to eight events a month, often involving breast cancer and children’s causes, and advertising is limited and mostly online. Word of mouth is what the company really counts on to bring in clients.Six more shops are seen opening in 2014, in addition to the existing three Houston-area stores and the three others in San Antonio; Austin, Tex., and Nashville. The stores range in size from 1,500 to 2,100 square feet.The Madison Avenue shop, like the others, is homey. It’s decorated with some of the same elements that are inside the Turners’ Houston home, like white oak floors. The store has other residential touches, such as the bamboo circular mirror, the pink cubbies and the Jean de Merry chandelier, which Elaine Turner bought for the store after seeing the one in Bergdorf Goodman’s restaurant. When the Turners were redecorating their home, they papered the walls in raffia. That sparked an idea by Jim. Why not get Elaine to design a handbag in raffia? He was actually joking, but Elaine took it seriously. Thus, the “viola” Jackie bag was born, marking the beginning of the Turners’ collaborative fashion business and a signature look.
Exclusive: @longchamp is planning to stage its first official runway show at New York Fashion Week this fall. The French leather goods firm has expanded into ready-to-wear as part of its repositioning as a lifestyle brand. The show, scheduled for September 8, will also cap the brand’s 70th anniversary celebration. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex undertook their first overseas engagement as a married couple in Dublin. The trip included multiple events and outfits changes, including this black dress by @emiliawickstead that Meghan Markle wore for a party at the British Ambassador’s home. #wwdfashion #royals
At 20 years old – and with an estimated net worth of $900 million - @kyliejenner is the youngest person to ever make @forbes’ annual list of America’s Richest #SelfMadeWomen. “It’s incredible to be recognized for something I’m so passionate about, and I’m really grateful for that. I’ve always loved makeup and worked really hard to bring the first lip kit to the market,” said Jenner on founding @kyliecosmetics. See who else is on the list on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @rainerhosch)
“The collection is inspired by Tulum and the Mayan Riviera – its laid-back luxury, life of cabanas, untouched coastline, natural habitats, exotic cocktails and jungle parties with renowned DJs,” said Matteo Maniatty, creative director and cofounder of @descendantofthieves, on the brand’s inspiration for its latest collection. See more designer sketches and inspirations on WWD.com. #wwdfashion #nyfwmens #nyfw
@riccardotisci17 is releasing a limited-edition capsule collection as part of his anticipated runway debut for @burberry in September. Delivered in a series of instant drops, this is the second Burberry capsule collection announced since Friday, when Tisci broke the news on his collaboration with @viviennewestwood. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdfashion #wwdnews
“It’s like a Cinderella story. You get a little fake, you get a little real, you put it together and voilà,” said legendary rapper Slick Rick, who helped pioneer the merge of luxury and streetwear. WWD’s @ariahughes spoke to @therulernyc about his jewelry collection, his collaboration with @bally and how the industry has evolved – link in bio. (📷: @kristaschlueter)
@ragandbone and @eminem are teaming up on a special capsule collection of streetwear pieces. Sold at a one-day pop-up in London’s Soho on Friday, the collection features three different T-shirt designs and a hoodie. The capsule is set to kick off the rest of Eminem’s shows in his European Revival Tour, which ends on Sunday. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdfashion