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The Chartreuse Caper: Nicole Miller Chartreuse Fall 2009

To say that Nicole Miller has a lot going on is an understatement.

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Nicole Miller Chartreuse RTW Fall 2009

Nicole Miller Chartreuse RTW Fall 2009

Photo By Talaya Centeno

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To say that Nicole Miller has a lot going on is an understatement. She’s got her mainstay runway collections (Nicole Miller Signature and Nicole Miller Collection), her exclusive line with J.C. Penney (Nicole by Nicole Miller) and a slew of accessories, home, fragrance, lingerie and legwear offerings. Just last August, she launched a daytime dress line (Studio One). And now there’s yet another.

This week, the designer previews her new Nicole Miller Chartreuse collection, licensed with the New York-based Rafaella Group. The line, which will wholesale from $195 to $425, targets the sportswear market and is a significant move for the designer. “I’ve always dabbled in sportswear, but I’ve never really done a whole collection,” she says. “I felt it was important that this be shown separately. It had to be its own thing.

“It’s funny, because we were very big in sportswear a long time ago,” Miller adds. “Over the years, we just sort of evolved in a different direction: dresses.” Indeed, cocktail and evening attire have long been Miller’s forte, which may explain one of the key elements of Chartreuse. “The whole concept is dressmaker details applied to sportswear,” says collection president Helaine Elias, pointing to one notable example: Miller’s signature tucking effects on simple sweaters and shirts.

While all of the collections under the Miller umbrella share DNA — her enthusiasm for prints and strong colors — the designer maintains that Chartreuse is “its own world and its own identity.” The shared theme throughout is a something-for-everyone mentality: draped tops, tomboyish tailoring and even a punkish studded leather dress. Integral to the lineup are the knits, including easy cocoon shrugs and sweater dresses. The color palette, meanwhile, swings from metallic coppers to rich plums and sapphires.

And then there are the chartreuse touches, of course. Miller says she named the collection after that hue because green is her favorite color. “I went through all the different names I could think of — emerald, celadon,” she says. “There wasn’t another word that I felt really meant anything to me.”