NEW YORK — Stacey Bendet knows women look to her brand Alice + Olivia for great-fitting pants. Now she wants to make it as easy as possible for women to find them, so she is launching a pants-only line.
The collection, simply named Alice + Olivia Pants, will launch for spring retailing.
Since the brand’s inception three years ago, the number of pant silhouettes in the Alice + Olivia Collection has almost doubled to 30 styles. In addition to the signature trouser pants, fashion styles like gauchos, shorts and even leggings have been added to the mix.
Bendet, 27, in an effort to better brand the collection, wanted to give her pants their own home, which meant setting the collection apart and changing labels and hang tags to feature the pants collection’s new name.
“The collection has gotten really big,” Bendet, founder and designer, said one afternoon in the newly renovated Alice + Olivia showroom at 80 West 40th Street here. The second-floor showroom sits just above the trees that line Bryant Park across the street. “We are known for creating great pants and I wanted to brand it and build a better business in stores so that the retailers can really teach customers about our pants.”
Bendet and her partner, Andrew Rosen, expect the wholesale volume for Alice + Olivia Pants to reach between $5 million and $6 million in 2006. The success of her pants line is due in part to a simple design philosophy to which she subscribes. “A great pair of pants should make you look taller and slimmer,” she said. To achieve this look, Bendet uses a straighter silhouette coupled with a wide waistband and darts on the seat of the pants.
“It segments your butt,” she said. “When you look at the butt, the waistband and darts break it up and make it look smaller.”
Also, she explained, darts shape the seat while yokes flatten, which can make all the difference in a great pair of pants.
Alice + Olivia Pants will include updated styles from previous collections as well as new silhouettes. The pants collection will hit stores in January. Key styles for spring include satin stretch trousers, stretch linen pants, suspender pants and casual capri pants. The wholesale price range of Alice + Olivia Pants is between $90 and $150.
The pants collection will be distributed to the same specialty boutiques and high-end department stores as the Alice + Olivia Collection, such as Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus. Bendet said customers can expect to see 10 new styles of pants per delivery.
“Most of the stores pick up the pants first, but then they take everything else to complement it,” Bendet said, noting that Alice + Olivia Collection has grown, too. This season, Bendet added flow-y dresses in vibrant prints and shrunken blazers lined with vintage concert T-shirts from bands like the Rolling Stones and the Sex Pistols. She’s also experimenting with more fabrics, such as vintage lace for tops. The wholesale price range for the Collection is between $65 and $190. For 2006, Bendet said she expects the wholesale volume for Collection and Pants to reach $10 million combined.
Bendet also said plans are in motion to open a second Alice + Olivia boutique — this one just below the showroom on West 40th Street. The 1,800-square-foot space will feature a custom-fit Pant Bar and will open in the spring. Like the first Alice + Olivia boutique, which opened in May in East Hampton, N.Y., Bendet wants the Manhattan one to have a black-and-white interior decorated with vintage furniture and accented by pieces from home designer Jonathan Adler.
Bendet would also like to feature the same amenities as her East Hampton shop, which include teas courtesy of Moby’s vegan tea shop Teany and candies courtesy of Dylan Lauren’s megacandy store Dylan’s Candy Bar.
The store will also feature Lotus flower tanks that Bendet cocreates with ashtanga yoga instructor Eddie Stern. One hundred percent of the proceeds go toward the Pattabhi Jois Charitable Trust, which distributes funds to charities in Mysore, India.
“Hopefully, we’ll open the store in April,” Bendet said. “We’re just trying to take it to the next level.”