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Jones Adds 9X9 and Grane to Mix
Finding another niche to fill in Jones Apparel Group’s denim division may be tough. The company already runs Gloria Vanderbilt to satisfy the moderate consumer, L.E.I. and Glo jeans for the junior shopper and Bandolino Blu for the higher-end moderate customer.

But with two new brands in the division, Jones is moving right along.

To serve a 25- to 45 year-old better department store shopper, the company will debut 9×9 by Nine West for fall selling, with a bigger launch planned in the spring.

“With 9×9, we are making our entrance into the better jeanswear segment,” said Jack Gross, chief executive officer of Jones’ junior and denim businesses. “With the Nine West name, there’s already that brand cachet, so the opportunity is there.”

For spring, the company is planning a major launch of the brand, with an ad campaign to hit February and March magazines, along with a soon to be determined gift-with-try-on at retail.

“If we can get women to try these jeans on, chances are pretty good that they will make the purchase,” said Gross, adding that the metal hangtag comes with a paper tag explaining the fit of the jeans.

Retailing between $68 and $100, 9×9’s strategy is to have basics surrounded by fashion pieces. For the launch, in 350 to 450 doors, there are six basics: the Park, a classic relaxed pair; the Melrose, a skinny jean; the Bond, a superskinny fit; Madison, a trouser; Sunset, a boot-cut style, and Bleecker, a slim boot-cut. Each pair has stretch, Gross stressed, ranging from 2 to 4 percent spandex content.

Each style comes in an array of finishes, such as spray and tinting treatments, a dark rinse or in key colors like black and gray.

“Overall, we see jeans cleaning up,” Gross said. “Whiskering and sandblasting are more subtle.”

Surrounded by the basics is a selection of fashion pieces, which includes 24-inch cropped pants, 17-inch cropped pants, a variety of skirt styles, jackets and corduroy pants in colors like deep purple, brown and black.

This story first appeared in the May 25, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Then there’s Grane, an earthy-looking junior denim line to be sold only in department stores.

Grane hit 150 Federated doors in January and will launch in a big way for back-to-school selling. Planning for 450 doors, Grane was developed by Jones with the help of Federated Department Stores.

“Federated approached us to see if we could work to develop a junior denim brand that will only be sold in department stores,” Gross said. “So we came up with Grane, which is contemporary in look and feel, but priced for the junior customer at $29.99 and $34.99 retail.”

Grane was created with the same mind-set as 9×9 in that it has basics, surrounded by fashion pieces. There are skinny-leg, straight-leg, flare and boot-cut styles. The fashion items include a miniskirt with rhinestone and embroidered detailing, a pleated miniskirt and an array of shorts. Each piece is recognizable by the embroidered hummingbird logo on the waistband, along with a detailed explanation of the fit on the tag.

The company plans a major advertising campaign for back-to-school with ads in Teen Vogue, Us Weekly and Seventeen magazines.

In the spring, Gross said he anticipates launching knit and woven top lines for 9×9 and Grane.
Julee Greenberg

Adams-Geller Honored
Gloomy skies on Sunday didn’t keep supporters from attending the annual Fashion for Life reception in Los Angeles benefiting Friendly House, a treatment center for women recovering from substance abuse.

Guests bid in silent auctions for tennis lessons and Stila makeup, and later enjoyed a fashion show featuring spring and fall looks from local designers, including Robert Rodriguez, Jak & Rae, Single, Shay Todd and Kevan Hall.

Hall, who attended with his wife and two children, said he will launch a line of lower-priced cocktail attire next spring.

The party also honored Paige Adams-Geller, the designer of Paige Premium Denim, who accepted the first “Fashion for Life Vision Award” from retail visionary Ron Herman for her contributions to women and society.

In her acceptance speech, Adams-Geller cited her years battling anorexia and working as a fit model before launching her denim company, which promotes healthy body images for women. She also spoke for the first time about being a victim of rape, embracing the negative things that had happened in her past and taking what she had always disliked about her body to create clothes that make people feel good about themselves.

Adams-Geller has been a longtime supporter of RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, and this year she became a member of its board.
Melissa Magsaysay

Diesel Hits Bond Street
Diesel is moving into the luxury fast lane with the opening of its largest U.K. flagship on London’s Bond Street.

The 5,900-square-feet store, which covers two floors, is part of a brand strategy to attract a new, wealthier customer and satisfy the upmarket tastes of current Diesel fans.

“London, for me, is a great example of how Diesel is moving forward,” said founder and chief executive officer Renzo Rosso. “The opening of the Bond Street store is the next official step into what I call ‘premium’ casualwear. It’s part of a strategy to broaden the Diesel line to include more luxurious products.”

The store carries the core Diesel denim ranges as well as high-end products such as the recently launched Diesel Jewelry, which includes chunky, skater-inspired silver items, and other accessories, footwear and denim lines.

“About 20 percent to 30 percent of the merchandise is at a luxury level, so you can come and buy a pair of jeans and also have the chance to buy a pair of $630 shoes, a $795 handbag or a $1,500 dress,” Rosso said. “The luxury products aren’t stuffy or stiff, but they do feature the best fabrics and workmanship, and they’re all made in Italy.”

The store was designed by the in-house Diesel team to reflect this quality. Exposed brick walls are hung with sleek steel display units and select vintage pieces. Key catwalk pieces from the label’s latest show, including a full-length, fishtail denim halter dress and an all-in-one, white denim pantsuit, are on display. There also is a private shopping area for VIP customers.

“It’s not bourgeois,” Rosso said. “It’s a combination of luxury with Diesel’s own unique style.”

The U.K. is a key market for Diesel, generating sales of $177 million annually. Rosso hopes to grow with diversification into different product ranges and luxury lines.

“The strategy is to keep everything under one brand umbrella and not split anything,” he said. “Diesel is a lifestyle brand. If you believe in it, you really don’t want to go to different stores in different neighborhoods to shop.”

Rosso said the Bond Street store is already on budget. The next “premium” Diesel store is to open this year in Osaka, Japan.
Lucie Greene