PARIS — In the K-riddled parlance of Karl Lagerfeld’s brand book, the Kountdown has begun to the designer’s launch into the burgeoning masstige category.

This story first appeared in the December 8, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The designer has leaked the first image of his new Karl collection, slated to debut exclusively on the e-tail site Net-a-porter on Jan. 25 and on the month after. The image shows Dutch model Saskia de Brauw in slim black pants, a silvery blouse and a sleeveless leather motorcycle vest, styled à la Lagerfeld with a detachable shirt collar and fingerless leather gloves.

Press materials for the line laud it as “ironiK, artistiK, aKcessible,” with graphic silhouettes and rock ’n’ roll accents of vinyl, rubber, leather and sequins. Styles include draped T-shirt dresses, silk blouses, hooded sweatshirts, short dresses and capri pants.

A sentence appearing on detachable leather collars is said to sum up the spirit of the line: “I only wear the latest thing, it’s my job.”

Holli Rogers, buying director at Net-a-porter, lauded the brand’s “effortless cool” and “fantastic price points.”

As reported, the debut women’s line — priced to retail from about 60 to 300 euros, or $95 to $450 at current exchange rates — will be unveiled in its entirety during a launch event during Paris Couture Week on Jan. 25. (Leather pieces are priced higher, running up to about 1,000 euros, or $1,340.)

At the same time, the designer plans to unveil to retailers a new signature collection, Karl Lagerfeld Paris, to be produced and distributed under a licensing pact with Italy’s Ittierre SpA, with first deliveries for the fall-winter 2012 season.

The Lagerfeld company, controlled by private equity firm Apax Partners, is also said to be exploring partnerships for new product categories and regions, including fast-growing China.

According to market sources, the company has held conversations with Veronica Chou, daughter of Silas Chou, about helping Lagerfeld find and set up a partnership for China.

Veronica Chou is president of Iconix China, which markets brands such as Badgley Mischka, Rampage and London Fog in China.

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