The contemporary dress boom shows no signs of slowing, and the Ella Moss label, known for its supersoft tops and dresses, is kicking things up a notch.

A higher-priced line of silk dresses, Ella Moss Black Label, is scheduled to hit stores such as Barneys New York, Lisa Kline and Madison in March.

The six-piece capsule collection of long and short bubble dresses, shifts, jumpers and Empire-waisted sundresses comes in sherbet colors and ranges from $106 to $168 wholesale.

“Usually, contemporary lines expand with lower-priced lines, but we already had a good niche in the $100 price-point market and our boutiques were asking us to take it dressier,” said Moise Emquies, president of Mo Industries here, which manufactures Ella Moss and the T-shirt line Splendid and recently launched girls’ versions of those lines.

The Black Label dresses have T-shirt ease but give women dressier daytime and evening options, said Ella Moss designer Pamella Proetzel. “You’ll still want to sleep in these evening gowns,” she said.

Emquies plans to start small with Black Label, producing three collections per year instead of the monthly collections he does for Ella Moss and Splendid. “We’ll take time to get comfortable in this market,” he said.

This story first appeared in the January 17, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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