NEW YORK — In a sense, Rena Lange is going back to its roots with this fall’s introduction of a made-to-measure collection in the U.S.
Founded in 1916 in Munich as a lingerie maker, the company was primarily focused on couture by the late Forties before getting into ready-to-wear in 1953. Now the third-generation family operation aims to recapture some of that glory.
The new made-to-measure collection debuted in Europe at the end of last year after customers in the company’s 15 freestanding stores in Europe requested it, said Tracy Welch, president of Rena Lange USA. Shoppers were looking for more unusual designs to wear to events such as the Salzburg Festival and the Bayreuth Opera Festival, she said.
“The social circle is very small in Europe and they want to see themselves as more exclusive, with the understated look that Rena Lange offers,” Welch said.
Having opened a store in Milan two months ago, Rena Lange is now scouting a location in Paris, Welch added.
Design director James Waldron oversees the design of the fall and holiday made-to-measure collection, which consists primarily of a variety of dresses, including a wedding dress. Retail prices range from $10,000 to $30,000. Rena Lange showed off the collection here at a runway show at the end of last month.
At this point, Rena Lange USA is concentrating on selling the pieces to individuals, not stores. However, if stores are interested in the collection, they can go to the European office to order it, Welch said.
In the U.S., getting the pieces on the backs of Oscar-bound celebrities and socialites is a priority.
“We are trying to do it and do it right with socialites here and on the West Coast,” Welch said. “It’s been a huge hit with socialites.”
— Rosemary Feitelberg