LOS ANGELES — Designer Sue Wong, known for her dress collections, is branching out with a new line of tops for the holiday season and plans to seek broader appeal on the Home Shopping Network.
The launch is called Sue Wong Chemise and it will augment Sue Wong Nocturne and Sue Wong Collection, her $35 million eveningwear labels.
Wong said it was only a matter of time before she ventured into the popular separates business. The tops, she said, are sportswear-oriented, a category designed to pair with pricy jeans or a leather jacket. For now, skirts aren’t part of the picture because of the difficulty of achieving consistent color in the coordinating tops and bottoms.
The 45-piece collection, manufactured in China like the rest of her lines, offers handcrafted items made from silks, georgette and rayon embellished with wooden beads, paillettes and lace appliqués. Hand-crocheted camisoles layered over satin jersey lining, silk georgette tunics with beading and cut-out embroidery, bra-tops with a tulip petal torso and hand-painted, beaded one-shoulder tops are among the highlights.
“I can reach a wide demo with this line,” said Wong, the founder and designer of the company she runs with her business partner and companion, Dieter Raabe.
Neiman Marcus is the exclusive retailer for the first delivery in June. The line, launching this week in New York, and next month in Los Angeles, will ship in August to other retailers.
Wholesale prices range from $65 to $99, and the retail price is intended to be about $200 or less. “This is…an attractive price point for a range of shoppers and boutiques,” said Wong, who expects the tops to pull in $4 million in first-year sales.
The tops will also be carried in her new showroom in the California Market Center, occupying the former Lucky Brand Dungarees space, which is next door in a smaller location. Yin and yang is the motif in Wong’s 2,000-square-foot showroom that opened in March. She designed the furnishings, from the high-backed velvet chairs to the centerpiece circular table and tufted banquette, which evoke feelings of the sun and the moon. The architect was Paul Hinckley.
Like a number of contemporaries, Wong’s marketing has focused on the celebrity angle in place of advertising. Feathers in her hat include placement in Drew Barrymore’s recent movie, “Fever Pitch,” and television shows such as “The O.C.” and “Desperate Housewives.”
Seeking to tap into another customer base, Wong will appear on the Home Shopping Network from Friday to Sunday, which reaches 85 million cable TV households. Women ages 25 to 54 account for 75 percent of the audience.
“We don’t do a lot of advertising so an on-air presence can help viewers meet the designer and get a lot of information about her in a short time,” said John Homann, the company’s chief operating officer and Wong’s son.
Wong represents the contemporary designer that the shopping network has begun courting. It recently featured the A.B.S. by Allen Schwartz and Nicole Miller lines, said June Saltzman, HSN’s senior vice president of merchandise for apparel and accessories.