Tag Archives: Retail

Bra Breaking News: Bra La Mode Consulting Officially Launches

31 Jul

I am pleased to announce the official launch of Bra La Mode Consulting.  I initally launched Bra La Mode in September 2011 with the notion that I could be of service to individuals and/or businesses that are looking to break into the intimate apparel industry.  Over the course of the past two years, it became apparent that there was a definitive need for the services I could provide.  The business has evolved over time, and the result is Bra La Mode Consulting. 

I established the full-service consulting company to assist independent lingerie designers, start-up companies and other small, wholesale Intimate Apparel businesses in executing their vision. 

From concept to consumer, I collaborate with my clients, evaluate their individual needs and formulate a strategic plan to execute their initiatives.

Some clients approach me in the concept stage. We work together to establish a solid business plan and budget; we focus on brand identity, define the target consumer, determine key differentiators, create a marketing strategy, and then move forward with a clear plan of action.  I walk my clients through product development, pre-production and production, including the sourcing of materials and locating the appropriate production facility (domestic or overseas)….all the way through the launch of their brand or business.

Others reach out to me after they’ve launched. We evaluate their current business to determine weaknesses and missing links. Is their marketing strategy in sync with their brand identity? Do they have a clearly defined target consumer or are they still trying to target a base of consumers that is too broad? How can we tighten up their strategy to achieve success?

I take great pleasure in watching my clients’ businesses evolve and grow. Each client is different. With a one-on-one approach, I devise a strategic plan tailored specifically to each brand’s individual needs and implement key initiatives to execute their objectives.

Bra La Mode Consulting Announcement_FINALFor additional information on Bra La Mode’s Intimate Apparel Consulting Services or to arrange a personal assessment of your current Intimates business, please contact me

Follow @MoiraNelson & @BraLaMode

www.facebook.com/BraLaMode

Intimate Insight: Antoinette Paris Brings French Lingerie To The US!

27 Mar

As a working American woman, it can be easy to find yourself buying only the most practical nude t-shirt bras.  Luckily, Antoinette Paris is out to change the way we think about lingerie and our every day lingerie wardrobe.

When a pair of French sisters came to LA, they couldn’t find the lingerie they were looking for.  Instead of complaining, they decided to create their own boutique where they could bring the beauty and Parisian sensibility they were looking for to other women in the US.  Owners Caroline and Laure Gilleron currently stock only “the best, the handmade and the up-and-coming” in their unique online luxury boutique.

Antoinette Paris currently carries three designers: Odile de Chagny, Prelude, and French CanCan.  Each embraces playful luxury in a different way, but all are committed to quality materials and meticulous details.

Odile de Chagny is a designer who is inspired by traditional French lingerie.  She began her lingerie business after discovering a trunk of vintage lingerie in her family chateau, and is inspired by traditional construction methods.  All of her pieces are hand-sewn works of art.  Caroline and Laure were attracted to her fabrics and her sense of femininity.  Her current collection is inspired by hearts and lace.

Prelude is another designer who loves to work with lace, but has a more Eastern European sensibility.  The collection consists of luxury pieces in lace and satin that fit perfectly into your every day lingerie drawer.  The current collection focuses on practical but oh-so-pretty styles like high waisted panties and balconette bras.

French CanCan combines luxury fabrics and construction with burlesque styles to create a unique and playful collection.  Their sheer sets and ruffled babydolls take the wearer back to the Moulin Rogue.

Pieces from these designers can be purchased at Antoinette Paris.

Intimate Insight: Dear John, For Valentine’s Day, You’ve Got The Pink Slip

3 Feb

The Superbowl is this Sunday.  And the only thing I know is that the NY Giants are in it, and Madonna is performing at halftime.  That’s where it ends.  For those of us living a life of lingerie, we’ve got our focus on Valentine’s Day this time of year (our own sort of Superbowl.)  For intimate apparel brands and retailers, a lot of energy is spent trying to capitalize on this annual celebration of love.  There’s no perfect formula to having a successful selling season, and retailers (as well as e-tailers) have tried every possible sales tactic in the book- markdowns, in-store events, sample sales, pop-up shops, gifts with purchase, 2-for-1, gift cards, etc.  What worked for one season or one holiday, may not work for another.  It’s a lot of trial and error, especially in a volatile marketplace.

The Pink Slip NYC

I have a passion for discovering innovative merchandising methods.  So, when I spoke to Margo Andros, owner of The Pink Slip in NYC’s Grand Central Terminal, I was impressed by her creative approach to this year’s Valentine’s Day promotion.  First of all, a retailer must consider their clientele.  And from what I can tell, Margo has her customer all figured out!  Her store’s location is unique…. It is in one of the busiest commuter hubs in the world- the famed Grand Central Station!   What does this mean for her fun little lingerie store?  Margo shared a few secrets with me….  Her “bread and butter” is hosiery.  Huh.  Think about that….  High-powered execs hop off the Metro North from Westchester with a snag in their hose…. And The Pink Slip is there to provide a solution.  Of course she can buy a pair of L’Eggs Control Top Pantyhose at the local Duane Reade.  But, it’s just as convenient to pop into The Pink Slip for a pair of luxury Philippe Matignon stockings instead!  Problem solved.  Margo also explained that she needs to change her window displays more often than other local lingerie retailers.  Again, who woulda thought!!??  But it makes perfect sense….  Her target customers walk past her store day in and day out on their way to and from work.  Margo and her team understand the importance of keeping the store’s window display and product assortment updated and fresh-looking.  As a result, The Pink Slip has built a loyal following of men and women looking for intimate apparel, hosiery and other accessories for themselves or as gifts.

So…. to capitalize on the upcoming Valentine’s Day selling season, Margo decided to target the men who frequent her store.  She recognizes the fact that men appreciate convenience and ease of purchase (especially when it comes to buying underthings for their loved ones!)  Men can become so darn squeamish!  Here’s the deal:

Three Ready-To-Give “Packages” to take the guess work out for the fellas including optional delivery or messenger service…  It’s that simple!  And Margo has her team ready to assist The Pink Slip clientele with selection and a reminder to sign a complimentary Pink Slip notecard.  The Gift Packages arrive fully wrapped with the personalized notecard tucked inside. 

Margo knows her customer…  And as a result, I suspect she’ll have a very rewarding Valentine’s Day herself!

Package 1 – $100 “The Sweetest Thing”

3 pairs of Hanky Panky Panties (red, black, and pink or combo of colors) – $60 value

A surprise pleasure item, 2 options to select from: 

Massage candle – $36 value OR Chocolate Fondue AND Booty Parlor Body Topping – $37 value

4 Nipple Nibblers (various flavors) – $4 value

Package 2 – $150 “You are my Sunshine”

Levante Thigh Highs/or substitute (black, any style) – $18 value

Mimi Rhinestone Pasties (any style) – $15 value

$125 PINK SLIP Gift Card

Package 3 – $200 “Melt with You”

$150 lingerie items of choice

Mimi Rhinestone Pasties (any style) – $15 value

3 Nipple Nibblers (various flavors) – $3 value

$30 PINK SLIP Gift Card

The Pink Slip- Lexington Passage in Grand Central Terminal, NYC

www.ThePinkSlip.com

Follow @ThePinkSlipNYC

Intimate Affair: Intimate Apparel Council Hosts Retail Expert Marshal Cohen

3 Nov

The Intimate Apparel Council (a division of the American Apparel and Footwear Association) presented “New Retail Rules” with speaker Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst of the NPD Group, on Monday, October 31, 2011 at New York City’s private Union League Club.  Marshal was invited to speak to members of the Intimate Apparel Council regarding issues directly affecting our industry as well as nationwide retail trends, the economy, and other factors influencing “Consumerology” (the science of the consumer).  Marshal’s Intimate Insights proved to be extremely useful in helping the intimate apparel professionals in attendance to better understand the mindset of today’s consumer, the significance of brand power, and the importance of innovation.

Marshal Cohen

Marshal Cohen is an economist, but he thinks of himself as a retailer first and foremost.  He is a nationally-known expert on consumer behavior and the retail industry.  Marshal has followed retail trends for more than 30 years, at NPD, as the head of leading fashion and apparel companies, as well as at major retailers.  As part of his work at NPD, Marshal leads many top firms in long-range and strategic planning sessions.  Marshal recently published his second book, Buy Me! How to Get Customers to Choose Your Products and Ignore the Rest.  I am pleased to share his expertise with you as it is invaluable to professionals working in either retail or wholesale environments.

Marshal confirmed that there are indeed challenges in our industry, but the key for us is to think of these challenges as opportunities.  But how can we do that?  First, we need to identify the mindset of the consumer and to look at their buying habits.  Marshal says that today, everything starts with the consumer.  They are the epicenter.  In essence, they drive retail.  They dictate what we create and how we market it.  If we want to be successful in selling our product or services, “we need to adapt to the consumer rather than demand that they adapt to us,” Marshal said.

We have entered a new “era of consumption.”  Before the recession, we were in an era of “conspicuous consumption.”  There were no limits to the amount of money being spent.  If a consumer wanted it, he bought it!  The mindset of the consumer was different than it is now.  Now, the mindset is “calculated consumption.”  Today, the consumer asks himself, “Do I need it?  Do I want it?  Can I buy it elsewhere for less?”  At the beginning of the recession, the consumer was in a state of “frugal pride” (he simply stopped spending.)  Now, he’s in a place of “frugal fatigue” (he’s tired of living on such a tight budget… he’s loosening his belt a bit….).  So he’s back to spending money, but he is operating from the mindset of “calculated consumption.”  As a manufacturer or supplier of goods and/or services, we need to ask ourselves- does my product match up with this mindset?  Does my product or service deliver on its promise?  We now need to justify our product… We can’t just hang it on a rack and trust that it will sell. 

How do consumers describe “value” today?  Two years ago, the answer would have been “lowest price.”  Today, it is “Brand Names for Less,” and secondly, “More Product for Less”.  Branding is important.  Specialty retail is growing.  And, the number one growth area is in factory outlets!  This is where the consumer can still purchase the brand names he wants, but at a lower retail price.  To the consumer, this translates into perceived value.  What does this mean for us?  As a manufacturer, we need to help the consumer to understand why our product is worth their money.  We need to earn their purchase today.  This requires more work on our part.  And we need to look at how this fits into our business model.

There are numerous factors that influence buying habits.  Believe it or not, the weather can play a role in spending.  This past year is what meteorologists refer to as a “dramatic weather period.”  These periods historically happen every 8-10 years and they last for 9-14 months.  We are in the eighth month of the current dramatic weather period.  Just this past weekend, we saw snow before Halloween in parts of the country; other areas suffered record rains this year while others suffered from drought and record high heat, etc.  How does this affect the way we spend?  Marshal provided a concrete example which made a lot of sense.  Typically in mid August, consumers are budgeting for Back to School purchases.  But this year, the consumer’s buying habits were influenced by the fear of Hurricane Irene.  Right in the middle of the prime Back to School buying season, money was spent on bottled water, flashlights, light bulbs, sandbags, generators, etc.  And many consumers were forced to shell out money to repair their homes after the hurricane (flood damage, etc.)  Thus, there was less money to spend on typical Back to School items like apparel and accessories, consumer goods, etc.  The government can also impact spending.  As the U.S. government was debating whether to raise the debt ceiling, consumers simply stopped shopping.  Once an agreement was reached, the consumer reverted back to buying.  Also, we’re coming into a major election year.  Historically, whenever we are in a major election year, the consumer takes a step back.  And without a solid jobs program, we will likely not see economic recovery any time soon.  What happened to jobs?  Many have been outsourced overseas and many jobs have been replaced by technology (instead of bank tellers, we use ATM’s or bank online.)  We are in the deepest and potentially longest recession since World War II. 

These are the harsh realities of our current condition.  So, what’s the answer?  Marshal says “Innovation!”  How do we create innovation?  First, we need to think about technology.  Electronics are seeing the highest level of growth.  The consumer is much more passionate about electronics than fashion because of its innovation.  We need to make sure our product or service is wanted and needed!  And, it needs to be practical for us to execute it from a costing standpoint.  We can all see how Apple revolutionized retail by implementing the principle of “create a want and a need.” 

Reebok's ZigTech

And just this past year, Reebok doubled their business by utilizing technology.  Their unique ZigTech sole created a want and a need.  They put innovation ahead of branding.  Marshal said, “A product becomes worthy of purchase because of what it does, not because of the brand.”  So, the challenge for us is to create innovative products!  Marshal says, “Basics maintain volume, innovation drives growth.”

We are in an era of “calculated consumption,” but are entering a “brand renaissance.”  The consumer is looking for brand equity with value.  Marshal referenced Target’s Missoni launch this past September.  It was a huge success from a retail standpoint.  It satisfied the consumer’s demand for a brand name at a great value.  It created the want and the need.  The consumer was willing to spend because of its perceived value as he is now operating from a place of “frugal fatigue.” 

In the intimate apparel world, bra and panties sales are generally flat to last year.  Why?   Because there was no innovation.  Marshal also talked about understanding the need cycle.  How often does a woman buy a new bra?  What about new underwear?  Shapewear sales were down -18% to last year.  This is likely a result of the need cycle.  To me, this means that I can increase the rate of the need cycle (and ultimately boost my sales) if I create an innovative product that gives my consumer that “want and need.”  And Marshal stated that we can build brand loyalty if we can better understand the need cycle.

Another important component in “Consumerology” is to understand the influence of technology.  How are we marketing to today’s consumer?  Today’s consumer is multi-tasking…  She is on her cell phone, while emailing, and surfing the internet, all while updating her Facebook status.  Cellphones and the iPad (and other tablets) make this possible.  And, social media is breaking all of the traditional rules of marketing and advertising.  How do we balance all of this?  We need to adapt to all forms of media.  I recently learned the new phrase SoLoMo: Social, Location, Mobile.  Personally, I don’t think we can underestimate the power of these methods of marketing.  I shared my Intimate Insights on The Lingerie Journal earlier this week regarding the importance of social media in the intimate apparel industry.  You can read the Article here.

Marshal concluded the session by talking about balance.  As a manufacturer or supplier of a product or service, we need to find a way to balance the risk versus the reward, selling direct to consumer versus wholesale, manufacturing brands versus private label product, and providing basic product versus developing innovative goods.  And based on the insight he provided, he encouraged us to take the leap.  This is the time to embrace change!

About The Intimate Apparel Council

The Intimate Apparel Council (IAC) is one of the most prestigious organizations in the industry and is comprised of leading designers, brands, retailers and suppliers of intimate apparel products. The mission of the IAC is to stimulate the growth of the intimate apparel business by creating a network and a forum to actively identify, address and act on matters of interest to the industry.  The IAC cooperates with consultants and others in gathering information of special concern to intimate apparel design houses and engages in public relations programs for the benefit of the consumer, the retailer and the manufacturer and design house.

The IAC is a division of The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA).  AAFA is the national trade association representing apparel, footwear and other sewn products companies, and their suppliers which compete in the global market. AAFA’s mission is to promote and enhance its members’ competitiveness, productivity and profitability in the global market by minimizing regulatory, legal, commercial, political and trade restraints.

Resources:

Marshal Cohen & the NPD Group

www.npd.com/marshalcohen

Follow @MarshalCohen

The Intimate Apparel Council

www.IntimateApparelCouncil.org

The American Apparel & Footwear Association

www.ApparelandFootwear.org

Follow @ApparelFootwear

Fashion’s Night Out- In Lingerie Style Part I

15 Sep

I was lucky enough to attend a number of events for Fashion’s Night Out.  There is so much I want to share with you all…. But it is definitely too much for one Blog Post.  The following chronicles the first stop on my Itinerary, Journelle on Mercer Street in SoHo.  Check back in the days to come for details of the remainder of my evening. Here is Fashion’s Night Out-  In Lingerie Style- Part I….

Premier Lingerie Store Journelle & Founder/ CEO Claire Chambers

On Thursday, September 8, 2011, cities around the globe celebrated Fashion’s Night Out.  The annual event coincides with New York Fashion Week and is a “shopping extravaganza.”  Retailers around the world (including over 1000 in NYC alone) keep their doors open late, offer discounts, and create a festive shopping experience like no other.  One can expect celebrity guests, gift bags and other giveaways, food and drink, music, and an overall party atmosphere including guest lists, red carpet entrances, and security guards checking your bags at the door.

I planned my Fashion’s Night Out itinerary days in advance (using the Fashion’s Night Out web tool to create my evening including addresses, mapped locations, and listings of each retailer’s scheduled events).  Although I did my homework, I was still not prepared for what was to come.  I selected a handful of Lingerie stores which were within the same vicinity so that I could bounce around and see everything I wanted to see.  My target destination was SoHo (downtown NYC).  Who knew this would be the mecca for Fashion’s Night Out shoppers seeking a glimpse of the Kardashian’s or a free goodie bag….???  Certainly not I.

When I emerged from underground at the corner of Spring & Lafayette downtown, I could feel a certain energy in the air.  It was only shortly after 5pm, and already the streets were crowded with fashionistas hungry for a good bargain and an evening of star-studded festivities.  It was certainly festive…  Who am I kidding??!!??  It was outright insane and chaotic!  The streets were blocked off.  Policemen lined the streets alongside their metal barricades.  People blindly crossed the streets without looking.  I was being shoved from side to side as I attempted to navigate towards Prince & Mercer….  But I must say, I was loving every minute of it!  I’m not a fan of large crowds (typically avoiding parades and mass parties such as New Years Eve in Times Square).  However, there was definitely a magic in the air on that night.  It was a warm night and slightly humid… but the temperatures dropped to a comfortable level by dusk.  The streets were full of people looking to catch a glimpse of “something.”  The retail parties spilled onto the narrow, cobblestone streets.  Outrageous displays welcomed you from one shop to the next…. Often blending together… 

3.1 Philip Lim "Girls on Bikes"

I finally made my way past 3.1 Philip Lim’s shop on Mercer Street (which had a mani/pedi truck parked out front… It was kinda like a taco truck… only they were giving gel manicures)!  Not to mention the dozen or so bicycles parked on the sidewalk as part of Lim’s “Girls on Bikes” theme….  I wandered into the first stop on my itinerary…. Journelle.  Journelle was an oasis from the chaos in the streets.  It’s a sweet & sexy lingerie boutique located just doors down from Agent Provocateur.  It was still early… Only half past five in the evening.  Honestly, I think I was the only customer in the store as the sales associated scurried around in preparation for the evening’s event which was to include trunk shows for three emerging independent lingerie lines- Kriss Soonik, Bazsarozsa, and La Fee Verte.  I knew I wanted to get a good look at these three collections, so I was glad that I entered the store early (and beat the inevitable crowd which was to pack the store within just a few short hours).

 

 

 

 

Designer Kriss Soonik and her model

The first line I looked at was Kriss Soonik.  Kriss’ collection is beautiful…. Modern yet classic.  She has multiple pieces which can be worn in multiple ways including several modal-feel rayon/spandex tops & tanks (surprise!….with suspender belts).  Kriss refers to her line as “Loungerie” which she defines as “luxe loungewear.”  I think she has accomplished her mission of creating a line of sensual pieces which can be worn as innerwear or outerwear.  My favorite piece is her Susan Chic bodysuit.  It is made from all-over lace with capped sleeves, a large slit back opening from neck to waist, a rhumba lace “back seat,” and contrast color velvet ribbon trim which ties at center top back (with sexy long tails!)  At the Journelle trunk show, Kriss wore her own Susan Motion bodysuit in bright orange with a graphic tee underneath.  Both of these all-over lace bodysuits can be worn throughout the day and into the night.  Truly unique and fun!  I’m looking forward to meeting with Kriss to further discuss her brand and her inspiration and direction for the coming season’s collections.

Kriss Soonik Susan Chic Lace Bodysuit Front View

Kriss Soonik Susan Chic Lace Bodysuit Back View

Designer Eniko Bazsa and her model

Across the Journelle shop, I found the Bazsarozsa Fall ’11 collection.  The Bazsarozsa line is designed by Eniko Bazsa and is a reflection of her personality.  Eniko is sweet and somewhat demure with a radiant smile and charming laugh.  Each style is simply elegant and fashioned for comfort.  Eniko said that she wanted to create “everyday basics” that were comfortable and sexy at the same time.  The styling is simple, but far from “basic.”  Each body style has unique trim details such as crochet-look lace trim and contrast color grosgrain ribbon straps.  Eniko said she wants people to be drawn to the collection because of its design & sensibility and then to be further enthralled with it when they discover that the fabric is locally grown organic cotton….  and the collection is produced in the USA too!  I love the dusty, neutral colors Eniko used in creating an ethereal feel…. Dusty Blush & Dusty Aubergine!  Love it!  Body styles include strappy camis, bralettes, cropped cami bras, hipster panties, and thongs.

Bazsarozsa Cami Set

La Fee Verte's Designer Adam Sakara and his model

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ahhhhh…..the elegance of La Fee Verte!  The third independent lingerie designer featured at Journelle’s Fashion’s Night Out Trunk Show was Adam Sakara’s brand La Fee Verte.  I was surprised to discover that the line is designed by a man because it embodies all of the things that I seek in a sophisticated line of lingerie, daywear, and sleepwear.  Adam knows what women want!  The brand is sexy, sultry, seductive yet classic, elegant, sophisticated, and timeless.  The fabrics and laces are divine.   The delicate details are impeccable.  The overall sensibility and aesthetic is clean, pure, timeless elegance.  I am in love with La Fee Verte’s Silk Romper in Navy with contrast color Champagne colorblocking at the neckline and at the hem.  The romper is sophisticated, flirty, and sexy with spaghetti straps and a tunneled elastic waistband.  This collection includes a Bralette, Tap Shorts, a Chemise, and a Robe.  My pictures don’t do it justice….

La Fee Verte Silk Romper

La Fee Verte Silk Robe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Journelle was only the first stop on my itinerary, but was certainly one of the highlights of my night.  I’m thrilled that I was able to meet and speak with each of the designers showcased at Journelle.  Each line is unique and destined to be recognized as one of the finest luxury lingerie lines in the intimate apparel market.

I departed Journelle on a mission….  Kiki de Montparnasse, Agent Provocateur, La Perla, and Bloomie’s were up next!  Check back soon for Fashion’s Night Out- In Lingerie Style Part II.

A big thank you to the independent lingerie designers Kriss Soonik, Eniko Bazsa, Adam Sakara, and to the entire team at Journelle SoHo.

Resources:

Journelle

125 Mercer Street- between Prince & Spring

SoHo, NYC

www.journelle.com

Twitter @ShopJournelle

Journelle is the premier lingerie store in New York for the modern woman. With inspiration from the archaic French word journellement, which means “daily”, they’re passionate about helping women feel great from the inside out. They believe in wearing designer lingerie every day, presenting a tastefully-curated (rather than exhaustive) selection of lingerie, and providing customers with compassionate, expert assistance.

Fashion’s Night Out

www.fashionsnightout.com

Kriss Soonik

www.kriss-soonik.com

Twitter @KrissSoonik

Bazsarozsa

www.bazsarozsa.com

La Fee Verte

www.lafeeverte.com

Twitter @LFV_LaFeeVerte

Natori at Target- The First Intimates Collaboration for the Mass Retailer

12 Sep

Designer Josie Natori

In case you haven’t heard, Josie Natori is partnering with Target to develop an exclusive, limited-edition Lingerie collection for the popular mass merchant known for its designer collaborations.  Target has partnered with numerous designers in recent years (including collaboration with Italian design house Missoni which launches this Tuesday, September 13).  However, the partnership with Natori is the first lingerie collaboration they’ve done.   The collection will be released in Target stores in two installments- the first hitting stores for the busy Holiday shopping season and the second installment will be available as of January 1 (targeting the Valentine’s Day shopper).  Retail Prices are expected to be between $9.99 and $34.99.  You can be sure that I will check out the Natori for Target collection as soon as it becomes available and will share my thoughts with you immediately thereafter.

Resources:

Target

www.Target.com

Twitter @Target and @TargetStyle

Natori

www.Natori.com

Twitter @JosieNatori and @NatoriCompany

Designer Review: Karl Lagerfeld Collection for Impulse! at Macy’s

11 Sep

When I tweeted that I was headed to Macy’s flagship on 34th Street in NYC to check out the new Karl Lagerfeld designer capsule collection for Macy’s Impulse! department, I had a lovely European Fashion Blogger kindly request that I share my thoughts…. So the following details my journey into Macy’s and my impression of the collection.

Karl Lagerfeld

The exclusive, limited edition Karl Lagerfeld designer capsule collection for Macy’s Impulse! department was much anticipated.  The Macy’s marketing and pr teams did a good job of creating the type of hype that is necessary to promote this type of collaboration…  Since I’m on a budget, I’m a real sucker for any opportunity to buy designer brands for less…  So, retailers such as TJ Maxx, Marshall’s and Century 21 score high marks in my book!  And now that it’s a popular trend to offer exclusive collections of designer brands to the masses at affordable prices… I’m in heaven!  So I knew I wanted to get a look at this collection months before it became available.

I chose to head over to Macy’s the day after the launch because I know the kinds of crowds that gather for these types of events (and because the day after the launch happened to be payday!)  Before heading to the store, I perused the collection online to pinpoint a few items that I might like to try.  I had zeroed in on a few things, so when I entered Macy’s, I was “on a mission.” 

Since I’m on a budget, my goal was to find one piece that embodied the collection.  But at the same time, since I was limiting myself to one item, I was looking for something that could be worn in multiple ways.  I’ve found that it’s more practical to purchase classic items that can serve several purposes than to buy that one crazy piece that screams “I went to Macy’s and bought this insane-oversized-black-and-white-pattern-sweater-dress from the Karl Lagerfeld collection…. But if I wear it again anytime soon… You’re all going to notice!”  So, I had my eye on the Long Sleeved Metallic Ombre Tweed Jacket.  I thought that it could be paired nicely with a pair of black slacks for work or with a sexy, drapey black knit top, skinny jeans and strappy heels for an evening out….  Since it’s an outerwear item, I could get away with tossing it on over just about anything throughout the coming cooler months, and because it’s a subtle color & pattern (but with unique styling details), no one would judge me for wearing it two days in a row!

After running a few quick errands, I marched over to Macy’s and made a beeline for the Impulse! department (utilizing the lesser known escalator just inside the 6th Avenue entrance).  The collection was centrally located on the floor and welcomed the customer with an elaborate display which was illuminated and surrounded by mannequins which were well dressed in Lagerfeld’s key items. 

Karl Lagerfeld display at Macy's Herald Square NYC

As I browsed through the rack displays, the first thing I noticed was the color.  The colors were beautiful….  Warm and dusty yet bold….  Pops of bright, raspberry pink.  Pink is my favorite color… Any shade of pink will do the trick…  So I was certainly drawn to the assortment.  If I had to put it into one word, it would be “sophisticated.”  The primary colors included a pale pink called Just Blush, a steely grey called Nine Iron, a bright berry pink, black, white and a wine color which was more of a “rusty rose.”  The colors were coupled with textures such as ombre metallic tweed and faux crocodile skin leathers, sheer, drapey fabrics and crinkle crepe (mostly woven fabrications).  The assortment included blouses, skirts, dresses, jackets, vests, shorts, suits, vests, an overcoat, and graphic tee-shirts.

The styling of the collection was beautiful.  My favorite features were the high-collars, the “unexpected” sleeveless styles and the ruching on the dresses.  The trim details added to the designer sensibility of the collection and included signature logo buttons, both clear and black rhinestones, and my new favorite trend- prominent, oversized zippers/ zipper pulls. 

The assortment ran the gamut from “everyday elegant” modest and sweet styles to corporate daytime ensembles to couture-looking, high-fashion evening attire.  Karl Lagerfeld was quoted as saying “This is a composition of different looks for different hours of the day, different lifestyles.  It is a collection of elements a woman should play with.”  From my perspective, his assessment is right on.  The collection encapsulated various sensibilities and lifestyles.  There were styles for every woman within each of us and it would be easy to mix-and-match various styles to create numerous “looks.”

I was disappointed in the quality of the fabrics, but felt that it was in line with the retail price-points.  The tweeds were heavy, stiff and scratchy.  And the woven sheer fabrics used in blouses and dresses were commonplace.  The faux crocodile skin leathers were “pleathery.”  Although I felt that the fabrics could have been nicer, this would have driven up the price-point (especially because of the fabric consumption of each style).  The construction and stitching were good.  Styles were lined as needed using a signature logo printed lining.  These unpredicted details compensated for some of the inferior features of the collection such as average-quality fabrications.

I selected a few styles to take into the fitting room in hopes of finding one piece to make my own.  Unfortunately, nothing seemed to fit quite right.  It seemed to me that the styles were cut for tall, thin figures.  As a curvy girl, I gravitate towards knits because they are more forgiving of my “lady lumps.”  However, most of the collection was comprised of woven fabrics… And nothing seemed to fit quite right.  My greatest disappointment was that the one style I had hoped to walk away with had been sold out the day before (on the day of the launch).  I guess I wasn’t the only one with my sights set on snagging the Long Sleeved Metallic Ombre Tweed Jacket!  I walked into Macy’s ready to spend money, but I ended up walking out the door empty-handed.

Overall, I felt the sensibility of the collection was sophisticated and modern.  It was fashion-forward yet graceful and elegant.  If you’re on a budget, can wear woven styles that are cut for slender frames, and want a piece of the legendary Karl Lagerfeld, I would recommend the collection to you wholeheartedly. 

Window Dressers setting the Displays on the 6th Avenue side of Macy’s Herald Square
 
 

Resources:

The Karl Lagerfeld collection for Impulse! at Macy’s is available in select Macy’s department stores and online at www.macys.com.

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