The Judith Leiber brand will begin offering a diffusion line next year.
The initial collection will be for handbags, with the average price range for the handbag line at between $200 to $495. The sales team is selling into the collection, so the actual launch date in 2018 — whether for spring or later in the year — is yet to be determined. The move to include a secondary line is part of Authentic Brands Group’s vision to offer a more affordable option for the brand. And both businesses will expand into other categories. There are plans to include footwear for the couture line, and jewelry and ready-to-wear for the secondary line. Pricing for the two new categories in the diffusion line hasn’t yet been finalized, although the entire diffusion line is expected to be of items at under $1,000.
ABG is the brand management firm that acquired the company in 2013. Earlier this year, luxury handbag designer and entrepreneur Dee Ocleppo Hilfiger took a minority stake in the brand and has become its global brand ambassador and creative director. She works closely with Jana Matheson, who is executive vice president and chief creative director for the couture business.
ABG is also eyeing expansion plans for other brands under its umbrella. It is looking at expanding the Neil Lane brand into other categories, with bridal an obvious first choice. And actress Megan Fox, who last year took a minority stake in the ABG-owned brand Frederick’s of Hollywood, just designed her first capsule collection for it in time for holiday.
Private equity firm General Atlantic last month made a “strategic investment” in ABG, joining existing investors Leonard Green & Partners and Lion Capital. The investment is expected to help ABG scale its business, expand its portfolio, and target for acquisitions brands having annual retail sales in the $500 million to $1 billion range.