NEW YORK — Macy’s sees Nicole Richie as its fashion star, at least for a season.
This story first appeared in the May 8, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Richie is designing a capsule collection for Macy’s called Nicole Richie for Impulse, WWD has learned. It will be exclusive to the store’s Impulse department catering to Millennials, and sold in about 100 Macy’s locations as well as on macys.com, beginning mid-September.
“Nicole is pretty savvy when it comes to the fashion business and understanding consumers. She’s a real fashion influencer,” said Martine Reardon, Macy’s Inc.’s chief marketing officer. “She’s got a very definitive look, very free style and bohemian chic, and our collection will definitely pay homage to her style. But we are being very careful to provide what the Macy’s customer wants. She really likes clothes with versatility. She likes to dress it up and dress it down.
“Right now, fashion is in a print cycle and Nicole does a lot of prints,” Reardon added, citing a peacock print Richie has used in the past and will provide for Macy’s, and bright jewel colors as a big theme in the line, which will offer 24 to 30 styles.
Typically, Macy’s Impulse capsule collections are sold over a six-week period, but Reardon said she suspects that Richie’s line could sell out in two weeks due to the celebrity’s popularity, and the salability of the clothes. Reardon also pointed out that, by September, hundreds of Macy’s stores will be able to sell the Nicole Richie line, even if they don’t physically carry the products because of new technology at point-of-sale linking up hundreds of Macy’s doors to macys.com.
Macy’s and Richie already share the limelight on the new NBC reality fashion show “Fashion Star.” On the show, Richie serves as a mentor to aspiring designers along with Jessica Simpson and John Varvatos, who also critique the merchandise. After the reviews, executives from Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s and H&M bid to buy the merchandise for their stores, with the option to make “no offer.”
Richie is also deep into the apparel and accessories business, selling her Winter Kate and House of Harlow 1960 brands, which have evolved into full-fledged collections offering ready-to-wear, jewelry, eyewear, footwear and handbags. She also has a separate line on QVC. Reardon said Richie’s line for Macy’s would appeal specifically to the Macy’s customer, unlike House of Harlow and Winter Kate, which cater to the Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom-type customers. “Nicole does have a lot out there already but she can understand different customers,” Reardon said.
“With each collection I do, it all starts with music,” Richie said. “Music is the driving force behind my inspiration.” The Macy’s collection “represents the many different layers of a modern woman. Women are wearing so many different hats these days. We are evolving. Not just working, but creating. This collection has a strong mix of masculine and feminine: printed chiffon mixed with faux leathers. I focused on the details, from the zipper pulls to the buttons.”
Richie is the seventh designer in the Macy’s program that brings guest designers to the Impulse department. It began with Kinder Aggugini last year, and continued with Matthew Williamson, Giambattista Valli, Karl Lagerfeld, Doo-Ri Chung and Alberta Ferretti.