On the eve his of fashion week presentation, Elie Tahari is looking to bolster his burgeoning men’s brand by branching out into another classification.

This story first appeared in the February 15, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The designer, best known for his women’s contemporary sportswear, will launch a line of tailored clothing with Peerless Clothing International, which will produce the suits and sport coats under license.

“This partnership was the next step in continuing to build our men’s brand and will allow our customers to further experience the world of Elie Tahari,” said brand chairman and chief executive officer Elie Tahari. “Men are dressing up more, and they want to look good. I think there’s room for newcomers as long as you produce something fresh and exciting.”

The collection follows the recent introduction of two other classification lines and marks the brand’s continued offensive into the men’s side of the business. Elie Tahari belts and small leather goods were introduced in fall 2008, and furnishings with Bloomingdale’s launched last fall.

While the women’s business is “much bigger,” according to Tahari, the company has identified men’s as a growth area. Since launching men’s sportswear in 2006, the company has altered floor plans in its own doors to house men’s products, built a growing wholesale business and continued to emphasize men’s wear during New York Fashion Week. On Tuesday, Elie Tahari will show its 10 men’s looks separate from the women’s — a first for the brand. The company said volume from the men’s business should double between now and next year.

To support this growth, the company will debut its first ad targeted to the men’s market this fall. Like the women’s campaign, the men’s ad, which will drop in T, The New York Times Style magazine, will be shot by Terry Richardson.

The ad will contain looks from the new tailored clothing offering, which features dark and dressy suits and sport coats featuring cashmere, mohair blends, cotton/cashmere blends and wools in a softly constructed, slim silhouette. Suits retail up to $898. Sport coats are priced between $398 and $698. There is also a limited edition tuxedo.

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