Ellen Tracy is celebrating its 65th anniversary with a new spring print campaign representing the “hyphenated” woman.
While she’s still going to work, she’s no longer a 9-to-5 woman who goes to the office and then heads home. These days, the working woman has a multifaceted lifestyle that combines numerous roles. While the brand’s advertising roots once featured “supermodels” — Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Carol Alt, to name a few — the new face of Ellen Tracy is Paula Patton, who juggles the roles of philanthropist, mother, actress, director and daughter.
According to Jameel Spencer, chief marketing officer at Sequential Brands Group, which owns the brand, the hyphenation of women’s roles today also means a return to the brand’s “bridge” roots for styling.
Rick Platt, Sequential’s group president, said that setting the fashion direction for the brand has involved working with its licensees. The major ones are G-III Apparel Group for coats and dresses, and GBG for sportswear. According to Platt, the focus has been on where the brand can “live and thrive,” even if that means a slightly lower positioning to the “better” tier at the department store level with corresponding price points. The bridge category has since been replaced by the contemporary classification. “This week is market week for sportswear, and everyone will see the continued evolution of the brand for fall deliveries,” Platt said.
According to Dow Famulak, president of Global Brands Group, “Sportswear will become a bigger component of the Ellen Tracy brand.”
What’s changed for the licensees in the repositioning of the brand is having to think from the perspective of how to dress women for the lives they lead today, as opposed to just for the workplace.
Lana Todorovich, president of GBG’s women’s apparel group, explained the repositioning: “If you think about how Ellen Tracy came to being, it was about dressing women confidently and successfully for work. That was the focus of the brand and what has kept it authentic.
“In our research, customers said they wanted well-fitting, sophisticated and a [slightly] bolder product. When the brand first started, it was about taking men’s clothes and making it for women so they could work alongside men. Today, women still want to feel powerful, confident and appropriate as well as feminine [and] put together,” she said.
GBG is maintaining the authenticity of the Ellen Tracy brand by keeping an eye on how what women wear to work sometimes could be the same as what they wear on the weekends. “We are bridging all of these occasions, with more options [in sportswear] for mixing and matching,” Famulak said.
GBG is also elevating the product offerings via sourcing and the fabrications used, while paying attention to details such as elevating the hand feel of the fabrics, the lining, and other extras in the finished product, Famulak said.
“Across the entire fashion spectrum, versatility is important and we are building that into the repositioning of the brand,” Famulak added.
According to Todorovich, the Ellen Tracy customer is “happy with herself. We are interpreting that with designs that feature bold floral prints, a palette of vibrant colors and feminine and flattering silhouettes.”