NEW YORK — Jordache is returning to the department store channel after a 10-year absence and has tapped Elizabeth Hurley to be the face of the brand in a new ad campaign.

“We believe heavily in marketing and really believe it’s important to associate a face with the customer that we’re going after with Jordache,” said Liz Berlinger, president of Jordache Enterprises.

That target consumer is “25 or older, still very sexy, very body-conscious and very vampy in her feel, which we feel is the essence of the Jordache brand,” she said.

The brand’s success will hinge largely on Federated Department Stores, which will put the line in 100 Macy’s doors for fall. With traditional department stores giving less attention to status denim brands, Berlinger believes the opportunity is even greater for a national brand like Jordache.

The company said it has thrown $3.5 million to $4 million behind the campaign, enlisting photographer Michael Thompson to shoot the ads, which will hit the September issues of magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Lucky, Marie Claire, People and In Touch. Jordache is getting more aggressive with its outdoor advertising, Berlinger said. The ads will be splashed across billboards in New York and Los Angeles, as well as on taxis.

Berlinger said it is an opportune time for Jordache to push back into department stores, as those retailers look for brands that work and customers look for quality denim at more affordable prices.

“I’m counting on people to recognize the brand and have kind of a warm spot for it,” she said. “I think they’re going back to more designer names. It’s less about the brand of the moment.”

Barbara Varnhagen, vice president of sales for Jordache Legacy products, said the under-$100 price point is a niche that department stores are looking to fill with a strong brand.

“If you think about the stores that carry the over-$150 to $200 price points, it’s really only a piece of the population looking at that,” Varnhagen said. “The climate in that business is starting to really change. A lot of people are going by the wayside because the stores want what works, and this under-$100 price point, not everyone can do.”

This story first appeared in the July 24, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The move toward straighter legs, darker washes and cleaner styling also works in favor of the brand’s heritage.

“We think certainly from a timing perspective with fashion trends, it happens to be very relatable,” said Berlinger. “I think what we’re seeing is the return to classics. It is getting cleaner and darker. It’s less about the contrived washes and fabrics, and more about fit and value.”

The company is applying a similar corporate strategy to Kikit, a moderate brand retailing for $30 to $40 that Jordache relaunched in 2002. An ad campaign featuring actress Kristin Davis and shot by Regan Cameron will appear in the September issues of magazines including Good Housekeeping and O, The Oprah Magazine.

“That market typically doesn’t market at all,” said Berlinger. “We decided to do what other brands are not doing.”

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