After listening to her customers, Reese Witherspoon has come up with what many of them want — plus sizes.
The actress and producer, through her lifestyle brand Draper James, has partnered with Eloquii, the fashion retailer for women’s sizes 12 to 28, to create a capsule collection for spring and summer, called “Draper James for Eloquii.” It will be sold at Draper James and Eloquii stores and web sites.
“At Draper James, we care deeply about our customers’ feedback and they’ve consistently asked for expanded sizing,” said Witherspoon, who serves as creative director of Draper James, in a statement to WWD. “We were determined to set out to find the right partner to better serve her, which led us to Eloquii. We love the fashion and fit.”
Aside from women’s clothing, the three-year-old Draper James collection has accessories and “home accents” such as candles, books, silver, pillows and stationery. The brand is named after Witherspoon’s grandparents.
“We have been fans of Draper James from afar, but we didn’t know them when they reached out to us,” recounted Mariah Chase, chief executive officer of Eloquii. “They had consistent callouts from customers who wanted larger sizing. They looked at a few potential partners, but we had instant chemistry. Our creative director, Jodi Arnold, is from Alabama,” and Witherspoon also has Southern roots. She was born in New Orleans and grew up in Nashville. “Jodi is a New Yorker now, but she’s very appreciative of the focus Draper James has on the Southern lifestyle. The aesthetic is fun. It’s a departure for us, but not far afield. It’s unabashedly feminine.”
The Draper James for Eloquii collection launches today, bringing a touch of Southern charm to Eloquii’s spring assortment. It’s ladylike, timeless, colorful style, with a lot of lace, eyelets, gingham and preppy stripes.
Draper James for Eloquii is being sold at Eloquii.com, the three Eloquii stores, DraperJames.com and the four Draper James stores through trunk shows with select styles. Priced $55 to $225, and about 20 percent higher than the regular Eloquii collection, Draper James for Eloquii launches with an “Escape Route” group that includes an embellished parrot dress, a Charleston stripe dress, and a “Dolly” check print wrap top with matching skirt. In April, the “Hello Darlin’” summer collection drops, including Draper James’ signature magnolia print and denim separates alongside playful accents such as Southern slogans and shoulder ties. Depending on the performance of the collection, Chase said extending it for future seasons is a possibility.
Draper James for Eloquii is also available at Rent the Runway. “Both Draper James and Eloquii, independently, have sold to Rent the Runway. We’ve been working with Rent the Runway for three years,” said Chase. “We are three female-run businesses.”
Draper James for Eloquii does have a dressed-up look that fits with Rent the Runway’s reputation. Chase said selling Rent the Runway is “complementary [to], not cannibalizing” the Eloquii business.
In the past Eloquii has orchestrated design collaborations with Stone Fox Bride, a SoHo bridal atelier, and Teresa Maccapani Missoni of the famous Missoni design family in Italy. “We don’t have a prescription for the way we do these,” said Chase. “Our philosophy is, if it’s something she doesn’t have access to, how can we partner best to bring that to her. It’s always through the lens of fashion. If there are partners that come to us or we approach them, it’s because we believe what they are doing is important and that they have something to offer our customer base.”
Chase said Eloquii has additional collaborations in the works, but wouldn’t divulge any. “In swimwear, intimates, or footwear, categories that we’re not that deep into, they would definitely be of interest. But apparel is our home, the mother ship. That’s definitely where we are going to play.”