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Jones’ Better Sequel: Writing a New Script With Signature Launch

Jones New York’s Signature better-priced line bowed Monday, entering a market segment that’s starting to burst with a slew of new entries.

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A spring Signature look.

Photo By Talaya Centeno

Signature 's face: Claudia Schiffer.

Photo By Talaya Centeno

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Photo By Talaya Centeno

Looks from Signature’s spring line.

Photo By Talaya Centeno

NEW YORK — Jones Apparel Group now has its new better baby.

The Jones New York Signature better-priced line bowed Monday, entering a segment of the market that had been sleepy, but is now waking up with a slew of new and revamped lines from various manufacturers.

Adding a little extra spice, Claudia Schiffer, who is more often associated with Guess or Versace, will appear as the face of Signature in the line’s advertising campaign.

“We see this as a lifestyle brand bridging the gap between Jones New York Collection, which is really true career, and Jones New York Sport, which is very true casual, key items and related separates,” said Susan Metzger, president of the Signature brand, in an interview Monday at the line’s 1411 Broadway showroom here.

“If traditional is middle of the road, than Signature will steer a little bit to the left. It will be a little bit more updated. It’s getting away from what real traditional is and just giving it enough spin that it’s becoming what we have called new classics. We will build this line with a more relaxed jacket sensibility and certainly will never be a strictly career line, as Jones New York Collection is the leading brand in those classifications.”

Signature is an opportunity for Jones to operate in this portion of the better zone with offerings under its own name. It’s also an effort to recoup some of the $548 million of revenue lost when the Lauren by Ralph Lauren label reverted back to Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. in June amid a flurry of legal actions.

Jones is looking for Signature to produce a volume of at least $200 million next year. It will launch in February in 700 misses’ doors, while 200 to 250 doors will carry special sizes from the brand.

During the interview, Metzger was called away briefly and, working on her feet, called across the showroom that if there is anything that defines her team it is that “they can turn on a dime.”

And that’s exactly what they have done.

The same group of people who launched and produced the Lauren collection until the license transferred put together Signature. They were able, though, to do some advance work on the line as the Lauren storm was brewing. Still, it’s been a summer of long nights and no vacations.
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