NEW YORK — When Miss USA Alyssa Campanella dropped by Marc Bouwer’s offices to borrow a red-carpet dress, the designer lined her up to model his new contemporary dress label.
During a photo shoot Friday for Marc Bouwer Hybrid, he said, “When I first saw her, I said, ‘Wait a minute. Come here. You’re not one of those pageant girls — you’re a model. You need to work for me.’”
The Los Angeles-based Trump model was all business on set, posing for photographer Tom Concordia in an assortment of dresses. In between clients at Sally Hershberger, stylist James Vides popped in to touch up Campanella’s hair and Albee Franson was on hand to freshen up her makeup.
Having seen how well his moderate-priced M by Marc Bouwer dress line does on QVC, the designer said he wanted to introduce a sexy, body-conscious collection that is more in line with his signature label but not as expensive. “These are simple, clean lines with the draping and architectural designs. This is much more in character to what we do with the [designer] collection,” Bouwer said.
Due in specialty and department stores for late fall-holiday, the 25-piece line will wholesale from $80 to $175. First-year projected wholesale volume is $4 million, according to president Paul Margolin. Sequined biased-cut dresses, solid jersey styles and body-hugging printed ones are among the offerings.
Noting how the Marc Bouwer Glamit dress collection generated $14 million in annual sales when that licensing deal ended two years ago, the company was confident that an even sharper-priced collection would appeal to shoppers, Margolin said. Offering $200 dresses for companies like Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Gilt Group to sell online is essential, Margolin said. “A $200 dress is really easy to sell online,” he said. “Women don’t want to buy a $750 or $900 dress online. They want the experience of going into a store if they are going to spend that much money.”
One of Bouwer’s other new assignments is designing “Flipping Out” reality star Jenni Pulos’ wedding gown. A Bravo film crew has already taped one of her visits to the designer’s West 14th Street showroom and, when the cameras are rolling at the Chicago wedding later this month, Bouwer will there.