Number 35 founder Andrea Cecile Cohen is launching the Entrepreneur Wardrobe, a group of five pieces that can be worn year-round and that she said should satisfy the sartorial needs of a professional woman for an entire week.
Cecile Cohen launched Number 35 a decade ago when she identified a gaping hole in the market for “simple, elegant clothes that fit me for work,” she said.
As managing director of Royal Auping, a Holland-based furniture company, Cecile Cohen was the only woman on the European management board, which required a form of power dressing. “Being big-busted, I was always conscious of men not taking me seriously,” she said.
The Entrepreneur Wardrobe, which includes a long-sleeve shiftdress, scoop-neck top, “Mugler” jacket, pencil skirt and straight-leg trousers, is 1,225 pounds or $1,750 at current exchange.
“The pieces are expensive if you buy them separately,” Cecile Cohen said. “If you buy everything together, there’s a 40 percent discount. We use very expensive fabric from Italy, so the clothes are luxurious and last. We never pretended to be cheap.”
Cecile Cohen declined to discuss specific sales volume, saying only that the company’s sales grew 40 percent last year.
Number 35’s dresses with a body-conscious silhouette are priced between 420 pounds and 575 pounds, or $599 to $821 at current exchange, depending on fabric. Cecile Cohen seems to err on the side of decorum; the knee-length styles have high necklines for the most part.
Cecile Cohen said her designs are intended to make women feel confident and elegant with their streamlined shapes in fabrics such as raw silk or stretch wool and rich colors like deep brown, gold and pewter. Classic bomber jackets with nipped-in waists range in price from 695 to 750 pounds or $992 to $1,070 and come in burgundy, light blue, orange, purple or yellow leather.
Through a collaboration with Daniel Lawson, the costume designer for CBS’s “The Good Wife,” Cecile Cohen has helped Julianna Margulies and other cast members suit up for their roles in the series about litigators in Chicago.
Cecile Cohen partnered with Lawson for 35DL, a collection sold on the no35.co.uk Web site.
“We’ve created a body form, which is empowering women though their dressing,” Cecile Cohen said. “We’re making them feel empowered from the inside out.”
Body Forum, a workshop Cecile Cohen launched in 2010, assesses body image and offers a comprehensive guide to dressing for a particular body shape. She offers the workshops for customers every three months and does corporate workshops.
Looks can be deceiving when it comes to Number 35. “Our clothes look quite normal until you put them on,” Cecile Cohen explained. “They come alive on the body. They’re just very flattering. When I design, I never accentuate anything around an area you wouldn’t want accentuated.”
Attention to detail includes the fuchsia fabric linings for 35DL and orange for Number 35.
“We have a lot of lawyers and doctors as customers and we even have a baroness. They don’t always have time to shop, so they’ll come at night or before work,” Cecile Cohen said, referring to Number 35’s showroom in Highgate and London studio.
In the U.S., Cecile Cohen is trying to expand the business through trunk shows such as the one that was recently held at the home of former Luca Luca president Yildiz Blackstone.
With “The Good Wife” wrapping with this, its final season, Cecile Cohen is shifting her attention to Lawson’s CBS drama “Limitless.” Lawson is also working an as-yet-unnamed series launching in June, and Cecile Cohen plans to be involved, assuming there are roles for strong women.