NEW YORK — Rebecca Danenberg, who already has a full plate as a designer of ever-hot Seven jeans, is about to get a lot busier. She’s relaunching her signature line of sportswear.
During a photo shoot last week, Danenberg, barefoot and wearing low-riding jeans and a black top, darted around the Apropo showroom like a hyperkinetic rock fan. “Too bad we don’t have some KISS music playing. Where’s Gene?” she laughed, as she fiddled with one model’s sleeve and fixed another’s hair.
It’s no surprise the 37-year-old designer was a KISS fan — she once worked on a music video for the band, and believes her spring collection is geared to a cross between KISS groupies and heavy-metal Barbie. Skimpy sweaters, low-waisted pants, body-hugging tops and high-slit skirts are some of the options in the 30-piece line. There are also more feminine styles like a V-neck gauze top with a tie-side and slim striped pants.
Wholesale prices are $50 to $300, and the collection is expected to generate about $400,000 the first season in the U.S., according to Uri Alter, who runs Apropo. The collection will be offered in about 30 American stores and it’s also slated for Japan.
Danenberg was in business about 10 years ago, and last year took a sabbatical from her signature collection. Crown Productions is now financing production and she and her husband Charles are backing the rest. She said the motivation for restarting her own line is a reaction to what’s currently in the market.
“Everything looks so safe right now. It needs to be a little bit more raw,” she said. “My customers are a little more rebellious. They don’t want to look like everyone else.”
Gabrielle Zuccaro, owner of Bleu in Los Angeles, who has ordered the spring line, agreed, calling the line “street-smart,” and “wearable but edgy.” Danenberg’s asymmetrical sweaters and knits should be a hit next spring, she said.
Donna Scala, owner of Trendmix in Plainview, N.Y., said she likes that even the line’s low-waisted pants are slightly higher than the hipbone-bearing styles popular in recent seasons.
“I bought her line a few years ago. It looks fresh. Her fit is good and she uses nice material,” Scala said. “Her pants and skirts have a clean, easy look, and that’s what my customer is interested in. They don’t want anything too complicated.”
Danenberg aims to have her clothes bring out the person’s personality, regardless of which coast they live on. A native New Yorker who now lives in Los Angeles, Danenberg sizes up the differences between the two coasts this way: “In L.A., it’s more about who you are, and in New York, it’s more about what you are.” She’s counting on both regions to come through. “We want the fans right now. I’m not trying to take over the world,” she said. “And I get a wardrobe out of it.”