NEW YORK — It’s the “little moments” that Bethenny Frankel is most drawn to in her first fashion venture.
This week, the reality show star and entrepreneur will finally reveal her Skinnygirl Jeans collection with a multipronged launch including in-store appearances and a major social media push.
“I call them ‘little moments,’” she said during a last-minute line review at the One Jeanswear Group Seventh Avenue offices here last week. She pointed to a red stripe down the side of the skinny jeans she was wearing as well as the studs, zippers and chains that embellished other pieces in the line. “I like a detail,” she said. “But this is not too over the top.”
A jean with glitter embedded in the fabric that Frankel said is “understated but still sparkles,” as well as models with unfinished edges, also set the collection apart in the crowded jeanswear market, she believes.
Skinnygirl Jeans offers knit tops and jackets as well, which also have details that expand the collection beyond basics. A sweatshirt in orange is cropped and has lacing on the sleeves as well as zippers on the bottom. And a denim jacket has zippered sleeves.
Frankel also liked the “pick-up drop-off” dress she said is ideal to wear to bring a child to school. “I don’t want to embarrass my daughter dropping her off at school in my pajamas, which I do. This is much better,” she said.
Despite all the bells and whistles, the line will still retail for around $100.
“We believe this is going to be the fastest-growing launch we’ve ever had,” said Jack Gross, chief executive officer of OJG. The company also has collections with Gloria Vanderbilt, Jessica Simpson and William Rast (Justin Timberlake’s line), among others.
Although the Skinnygirl Jeans collection will not launch until this week, Frankel has been talking about the line since January and buzz is already building.
“Bethenny online is like a magnet,” Gross said. “The response to the product has been overwhelming.” He did admit, however, that in the beginning “there were bumps with the name” among retailers.
Although named Skinnygirl, the line offers a range of styles and sizes, including plus sizes. “The customer got it right away,” Frankel stressed. “They know me and know Skinnygirl is a state of mind.”
Gross said bigger girls are among the most rabid followers of Frankel’s Instagram account and she worked closely with plus-size models to ensure all their needs are addressed in this line. “They don’t get to wear cute things,” Frankel said. “They feel like an afterthought.”
Although Frankel herself is quite thin, she knows that “every girl has an emotional issue with her body. This line has comfortable fabrics and makes your butt look great. And the way they hit the ankle makes your legs look longer.”
Since entering the public eye in 2005 in “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart” and then as a member of the “Real Housewives of New York” in 2008, Frankel has parlayed her celebrity into a multipronged business empire. She sold her Skinnygirl Cocktail company to Fortune Brands’ Beam Global for $100 million in 2011. She’s an author and also has her own TV production company.
Even so, she still sees herself as a “mom” who can easily relate to other women. “I travel a lot and just want to be comfortable,” she said, “but with style.”
Gross said since inking the deal for Skinnygirl Jeans, he’s been impressed at how engaged Frankel has been with the design and marketing of the collection. “It’s my best collaboration,” Frankel said. “They’re great partners.”
That partnership will be unveiled Wednesday night at Macy’s Herald Square where Frankel will make a personal appearance on the fourth-floor women’s department at 6 p.m.
“Macy’s is iconic New York and I’m very New York,” she said.
Beyond Macy’s, Gross said the collection will be available at Belk, Lord & Taylor and HSN.
“It’s a controlled launch,” he said. “It’s not as big a launch as we could have done, but we wanted to plant the seeds.”
Down the road, he expects the franchise to be extended to other categories including ath-leisure and footwear with other licensees as well as additional categories within jeanswear and related products under the OJG umbrella.