LOS ANGELES — It’s party time for Trina Turk.

This story first appeared in the July 26, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The Los Angeles designer is expanding her 15-year-old business with the launch of a special occasion dress collection for holiday. The collection is aimed at existing customers looking for dressier event offerings, as well as new customers who may shop dress departments but not contemporary floors. The line is designed to work back to the sportswear so it can be merchandised together or stand alone in dress departments.

“We are bringing a dressed-up version of the sensibility of our ready-to-wear collection, incorporating novelty fabrications such as jacquards, laces, and signature prints created especially for the dress line, and the fit our customer already loves,” said Turk, who describes it as “elegantly feminine.”

Styles range from a lace overlaid ponte sheath to a chiffon dress with heavily embellished cuffs to a long sequined racer-back tank dress. Much of the collection reflects Turk’s rtw aesthetic of a graphic print or unique fabrication in a simple silhouette, but the collection also dabbles with heavier embellishment than what is traditionally offered in sportswear.

The line, which wholesales from $100 to $270, will sell in seven of Turk’s boutiques, as well as 150 doors nationwide, including the dress departments of Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s.

“We see this special occasion dress business eventually growing to eight to 10 percent of sales,” said Cathy Quain, vice president of retail, e-commerce and marketing at Trina Turk. She declined to give first-year sales projections but said the company has exceeded its goals for the launch.

Turk, who launched a coat collection for fall 2011, is also focusing on expanding her swim cover-up range, a standout category at retail this spring and early summer. She is looking for sunglass and shoe licensees, as well, and hopes to enter the footwear category in the next two years.

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