OUDEJANS TAKES NEW DIRECTION

NEW YORK — Marie-Anne Oudejans has switched gears, again.
Last summer, the former Tocca designer planned a return to the fashion game with a new concept, Loch-Ness Couture, holiday eveningwear priced up to $4,000 retail.
On Monday, she and her licensing partner, Onward Kashiyama USA Inc., announced they had mothballed that concept in favor of a less expensive collection labeled Ardeche, named after a region in France.
The debut fall collection consists of about 220 pieces, including pants, coats, knitwear, sweaters, blouses, suits, dresses and evening separates. Retail prices will range from about $120 for knitwear, $400 for dresses and jackets, and up to $500 for coats.
Oudejans, who earned a reputation during her four-year tenure at Tocca for simple shift dresses, described her new concept as “a little more grown up. It’s not so girly.”
“They’re comfortable, elegant clothes,” she said. “It’s not so trend-oriented. There’s a classic feeling to it and the fabrics and textures are very important.”
The 35-year-old Oudejans said her Italian-made Loch-Ness collection was never shipped.
“The gap between Tocca and Loch-Ness was too wide,” she said. “We felt we should move in a different direction.”
The Ardeche line, which will be manufactured in the U.S., is “much more commercial,” she said.
Although she declined to give sales projections for Ardeche, Oudejans said she hoped to open a freestanding store in New York for Ardeche within the next year. She also plans to extend the brand into accessories and footwear.
Onward Kashiyama, whose showrooms are at 499 Seventh Avenue, will distribute the collection in North America. Kashiyama’s various affiliates will handle sales and distribution in other parts of the world.

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