Charlotte Ronson is growing up.
The 31-year-old designer is infusing her signature contemporary collection with higher-end items such as leather jackets, fake fur vests and knit cardigans trimmed in leather. She also has just introduced a new logo, which is black and white and showcases her CR initials in a heart formation.
“We are stepping it up more than ever, but also working to keep the prices down,” Ronson said.
Charlotte Ronson president Aaron Nir said the company is able to better control prices because of “our ability to hit factory minimums and our long-standing relationships with our suppliers, who fully expect us to be with them while the economy rebounds.”
Ronson said a key goal was to show a clear difference between her Charlotte Ronson line, which is sold in high-end specialty stores worldwide, and her I [Heart] Ronson collection, which is sold exclusively at J.C. Penney. Although both collections are targeted at the same 21- to 35-year-old woman, Ronson said she would like her signature line to be considered the more sophisticated older sister, while I [Heart] Ronson showcases the more casual side.
The Charlotte Ronson line, which wholesales for between $40 and $400, includes an array of higher-end pieces — the leather jackets, plaid belted dresses, fake fur shearling vests and a range of pants, which Ronson said have been booking well for fall. Before she added the higher-end fabrics, the collection wholesaled for between $70 and $130.
To help give the collection a boost, Ronson wrapped up filming her latest ad campaign, which will include in-store visuals and a video on charlotteronson.com. The campaign stars Ronson’s younger sister, Annabelle Jones, and Donald Cumming from the New York-based new age band The Virgins. It was inspired by the 1983 Richard Gere film, “Breathless.”
“The campaign really showcases the overall feeling of the collection,” Ronson said. “It was shot in different places in New York. We rented an old car and you really see that gritty feel, but with that flirty playfulness that the collection is all about.”
Ronson, a daughter of British socialite Ann Dexter-Jones and the twin of Los Angeles-based musician and DJ Samantha Ronson and sister of New York DJ Mark Ronson — has become a New York City fixture. In addition to her own lines, she has designed a swimwear line with one of her best friends, designer Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss, and codesigned a handbag line with her friend Nicole Richie.
Ronson’s contemporary line is sold in 150 better department and specialty stores worldwide, in her freestanding boutique in lower Manhattan, her store in Tokyo and in 14 shop-in-shops throughout Japan. Her Charlotte Ronson brand does $22 million in annual wholesale volume.