DRESSED UP, TONED DOWN
JOHANNE BECK’S LOOKS COMBINE SHINE AND FINE.

Byline: Rusty Williamson

Subtle glitz: not an oxymoron — at least not in the hands of Johanne Beck. The 34-year-old Norwegian designer is combining embellishment with refinement in a new bridge-priced dressy separates collection for late day and evening, being shown at Ritz Group at the mart.
The lacy, beaded and elegantly embellished line just keeps gaining momentum with stores since making a soft launch earlier this year. The line’s first shipment has recently hit stores, and reorders already are zooming in, according to the designer.
More than 100 high-end specialty stores bought the line soon after its debut, including Saks Fifth Avenue; Tootsies, Houston; Julian Gold, San Antonio; Balliett’s, Oklahoma City, and Hall’s, Kansas City, Mo.
Beck, who lives in Los Angeles, is taking a luxe perspective with the collection, which wholesales from $125 to $300.
First-year volume is planned at $1.5 million, according to Rebecca Bacon, vice president, sales and marketing.
The Johanne Beck line is sized 2 to 16 to attract a wide range of consumers. The garments are cut from French couture-quality fabrics, and some are sewn with handmade beadwork and metallic threads.
Many of the silhouettes are made from beaded silk lace, layered over silk satin bodies. Some hemlines of pants and skirts feature beaded fringe with a lace overlay.
The spring and summer styles are colored in lush brights such as apple green, fuchsia and turquoise and sorbet-tone pastels.
Among the more than 100 styles are dresses, blouses, halters, camisoles, capri pants and sexy little skirts.
“The look is all about versatility. Depending on how the items are combined, the look can be toned up or down. It’s contemporary eveningwear with a misses’ fit. We’re appealing to women 25 to 60 years of age,” explained Beck, who, besides designing the apparel, is also a principal at H&B Apparel in Los Angeles, which owns the brand. Beck’s partner at H&B is Yaniv Harari.
H&B also produces a seven-year-old contemporary sportswear and dress label called Jenny Helene, also designed by Johanne Beck.
Jenny Helene was launched by Beck two years after Beck moved to the U.S. and while a student at UCLA.
The peripatetic Beck spent part of this past summer in Paris overseeing a photo shoot that will be part of her new signature line’s marketing collateral.
She also sources fabrics in Paris and purchases from textile houses that supply goods for top Paris ateliers, including Gianni Versace, Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino.
All Johanne Beck garments are sewn in-house by the company’s 20 seamstresses.
Looking toward the future, Beck said she has tentative plans to expand into accessories, including matching shoes.

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