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J.C. Penney Co. is teaming with Libby Edelman to roll out Libby Edelman lifestyle shops exclusively to 500 stores for the fall.

But it’s not just footwear. “It’s a total lifestyle look, from top to bottom,” said Edelman, cocreator of Sam & Libby and Sam Edelman footwear, during an exclusive interview with WWD.

“There are dresses, jeans, jewelry, handbags, shoes — it’s a big collection. It’s not fast fashion. It’s a wardrobe that can live in your closet for more than a minute. It has a great easy spirit, a boho vibe with classic undertones. It’s casual, modern and eclectic.”

There’s also a cross-generational appeal. “It’s really an ageless collection,” Edelman added.

“This checks all the boxes — it’s style, trend, simplicity and value,” said J.C. Penney chairman and chief executive officer Marvin Ellison.

He explained that Penney’s new exclusive brand, called simply “Libby Edelman,” reflects the retailer’s strategy to modernize its assortments by boosting the casual and contemporary side of its fashion offerings, while de-emphasizing the traditional workwear area, which has been overassorted. “We’ve been very slow as a company to make that transition,” Ellison acknowledged. Penney’s has also been aggressively growing its athletic fashion offerings.

“As we move to revitalize our women’s business at J.C. Penney, we want to attract new customers by expanding our women’s contemporary assortment and infusing newness into our brand portfolio through unique designer partnerships,” added John Tighe, Penney’s chief merchant. “Libby Edelman is the latest collection to showcase this new strategy as we move toward meeting customer demand for more trendy, casual fashion.”

Sam and Libby Edelman are a husband-and-wife team who made a big splash in the contemporary shoe market during the Eighties with the Sam & Libby brand and rebounded more recently with the Sam Edelman brand. Penney’s marks Libby Edelman’s first collection of apparel, though she has collaborated with her husband on Sam Edelman apparel. Edelman and her team oversee the design and sourcing of the brand.

The Libby Edelman brand will be introduced in 500 Penney stores and on as a small preview collection starting July 14. It spotlights fashion sneakers, ankle‐strap flats, peep‐toe booties and lightweight cross-body handbags with embroidery and grommet accents and a limited edition of summer dresses.

The full collection will debut on Sept. 8 and include shoes, dresses, pants, blouses, jackets, skirts, handbags, fashion jewelry, accessories and hosiery.

The complete fall lineup will include a wider assortment of embroidered boots, totes, feminine blouses in prints, layering jackets, versatile dresses, scarves, necklaces and trend hosiery.  After a “compliance period” of selling at full price for short while, prices will be perpetually on sale from approximately $29.99 to $49.99, fitting neatly into Penney’s moderate price range.

Edelman said the line is geared so busy working mothers like herself can put together outfits easily. “While the collection simplifies everyday wardrobe choices, my hope is to give women the freedom and inspiration to combine pieces from the collection in ways that help them express new aspects of their personal style.”

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