Radcliffe’s Low-Key Luxe
When a denim brand branches out into a higher-end line, it usually means adding sparkle, crystals and glitz. Not so for Suzy Radcliffe, who is to launch Deluxe Denim, a seven-piece collection of simple denim pieces, from a trench to a tuxedo, for holiday.

The collection is in the spirit of her Radcliffe jeans line, which has pioneered clean denim silhouettes since launching in 2005, with the bonus that the hems could be adjusted to different leg lengths with silver cuff links.

“With Deluxe Denim, we wanted to show our ability to cut garments, too,” said Radcliffe, who has designed the capsule line with Savile Row tailor David Chambers. “Tailoring is part of the brand’s heritage. Our denim doesn’t have to be casual. It can be worn from day through to night.”

Testament to this are pieces such as Radcliffe’s Berkeley tuxedo in deep black denim that features a silk seam on cigarette trousers and a backless silk-lined waistcoat and the Mayfair pencil skirt in tailored, form-fitting black denim that can be cinched in with a buckle.

“It’s very Jessica Rabbit,” Radcliffe said.

As Radcliffe’s jeans are named after London postal codes, the new collection also reflects the city, with each piece named after a landmark. Radcliffe included two outerwear pieces in the collection: Trafalgar, a trench in stretch denim that has been resin-coated to make it waterproof but has an ultralight feel, and the Wellington, a denim jacket with a detachable shearling gilet.

“I always thought denim jackets were too cold to wear in the winter, so I added the gilet,” Radcliffe said. “I wanted the collection to become everyday pieces for the Radcliffe customer, clothes you don’t think about putting on.”

Prices for the group are slightly higher than Radcliffe’s jeans, and range from about $280 for the denim riding skirt to $560 for the denim trench. Radcliffe’s jeans all retail for around $270.

The line will wholesale in the U.S. starting this month, marking Radcliffe’s expansion of her U.S. accounts beyond Barneys New York for the first time, although she plans to keep distribution limited. The line will be available at Tracey Ross and Patty Faye in Los Angeles and Max stores in Denver and Vail. The line could also be the first step into ready-to-wear for the designer, who is contemplating working with corduroy, twill and cashmere for upcoming collections.

This story first appeared in the June 22, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“We don’t want to be a designer brand, but rather a true contemporary wear brand,” she said.

The Deluxe Denim range will have a different manufacturing base from the mainline jeans collection, which is produced in Istanbul.

“Denim factories are great at doing five-pocket jeans, but tailored pieces require a different production process,” said Radcliffe, who has also added discreet details to the Deluxe Denim pieces, such as a gold metal tag inside the jeans, with no visible branding.

“There needs to be a sense of discovery with a brand,” said Radcliffe, who worked in advertising before launching her line. “I don’t like it where jeans brands are all about what’s on the back pocket. Luxury is when you find details on the inside.”
Nina Jones

Diesel Gets Into the Swing of Things
Diesel was pleased to discover that a key element of a polo player’s elegant outfit was a sturdy pair of white jeans.

“We learned that Polo players all wore jeans, so sponsoring a polo event was an obvious decision,” Matteo Martignoni, Diesel’s marketing director in France, said at the Open de France polo tournament held at the Ferme d’Apremont outside Paris.

The two-week tournament ended June 11. Diesel dressed most of the denim-clad professional polo players with straight-fit pearly white jeans that retail in Diesel stores for about 160 euros, or $201 at current exchange rates.

The tournament was the denim giant’s first foray into the sport. It won’t be the last, Martignoni said.

“Polo is perfect for Diesel because there are few sports where professionals actually wear jeans as part of the uniform,” said Martignoni, adding that the combination of the sport’s elegance with a high-end sportswear brand is a good match.

“It’s a rough sport,” said French polo player Anne Portehault, a participant at this month’s event. “We need more protection than just tight white spandex pants.”

Portehault noted that because of the tremendous effort demanded of the horses, each player changes horses six times during one match.

“Luckily, we don’t have to change our jeans as frequently,” she quipped.
Emilie Marsh

Replay Celebrates Its 25th With Limited-Edition Line
Replay is launching a pair of limited-edition jeans to mark the celebration of its 25th anniversary this year. The Italian denim and sportswear company has scheduled three concerts in Venice, to be broadcast by MTV Europe, and a Web competition for free tickets to the concerts on its new replay.it site.

The concerts are held inside the medieval cloister of the Abbey of San Gregorio in Venice overlooking the Grand Canal. The site was acquired and restored by the late owner of the brand, Claudio Buziol. Mary J. Blige was the first performer, on June 19. The second concert will feature Craig David, on July 18, and Replay is still finalizing the third concert, scheduled for September.

The anniversary jeans will be a classic five-pocket model, featuring inside details made with shirt fabrics — a tribute to Buziol, who was regarded as an innovator in the Eighties for his treatments of shirts, and his combinations of materials and prints. The brand’s name will be stitched in red and green on the back belt loop. Silver buttons dipped in gold and engraved with the logo of the event can also be used as cuff links.

Replay is part of the Fashion Box Group, which also owns the Replay & Sons and We Are Replay brands. Fashion Box, based in Italy’s Asolo, was founded in 1981 by Buziol, three years after he registered the Replay brand in 1978.
Luisa Zargani

Indigo Palms Shifts Focus For Upcoming Campaign
Indigo Palms has tapped Kelly Rowan, one of the stars of Fox’s teen melodrama “The O.C.,” to be the face of the brand’s first advertising campaign.

Candi Nicholson, marketing director for Tommy Bahama Group, which owns the label, said the new ads are part of the company’s strategy to rebrand Indigo Palms. According to Nicholson, acknowledging that the island themes of the Tommy Bahama brand didn’t necessarily match up with Indigo’s denim lifestyle was part of the rebranding process.

“Tommy Bahama is really about relaxing, while Indigo Palms is about leaning forward and doing more things in the city,” said Nicholson. “It’s the same island, but Indigo is about doing things that are a little more urban.”

There’s also been an effort to focus less on the product and more on the lifestyle of the consumer.

“It’s really about what you do in your jeans, not about the jeans,” said Nicholson. “Our campaign is going to be based around collecting life.”

Even though Rowan plays the mother on a show with plot lines that are dominated by the travails of teenagers, Nicholson is confident the target consumers — those who have teens devoted to “The O.C.” — will recognize and associate with her. Nicholson also believes Rowan represents the brand’s ideal consumer target.

“The important part of Kelly is that we relate to her outside the show,” she said. “She’s our target customer. She looks good, she’s recognizable, she’s healthy and she’s just the real deal.”

Kurt Markus, whose work has appeared in GQ, Esquire, Vanity Fair and The New York Times Magazine, shot the ads over three days in April, producing between 15 and 20 setups. The ads will start appearing in October in magazines, including Harper’s Bazaar and O, the Oprah magazine, target titles.
Ross Tucker

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