Vera Wang is has been diving into licensed partnerships as of late, and she is at it again -- this time expanding on her relationship with Kohl’s with a line for juniors called Princess Vera Wang.
Kohl’s CEO Kevin Mansell said in a statement about the collection: “We are confident bringing this level of fashion and quality to our junior’s business allows us to increase the value proposition to our younger shoppers.”
Kohl’s and Vera Wang Group have been partners since 2007, with the launch of Simply Vera Vera Wang. Last year, when Kohl's reported rising profits, the retailer attributed part of its success to its Vera Wang collections. Now, an unnamed source told the Wall Street Journal last year
that Princess, combined with Vera Wang's various other Kohl's deals, is expected to bring upwards of $500 million annually in revenue to Wang's company with a few years.
Princess will hit Kohl’s stores in August, just in time for the the all-important back to school shopping season, which last year accounted for $39 billion dollars in sales in the U.S. The collection includes everything from motorcycle jackets and faux fur vests to floral pants and T-shirts with details like tulle bows. There are also shoes and jewelry in the line. Prices will be in line with the Simply Vera Vera Wang collection, where most items hover in the $50 range.
While many of Wang’s competitors from Lanvin to Oscar de la Renta are diving into the kid’s category with luxury collections, this collection is all about affordability.
Over the past year, Wang has really expanded her reach into the mainstream arena, with projects like a line of rental tuxedos for Men's Wearhouse, a line of bridal gowns for David’s Bridal, and a collection of jewelry for Zales Corp. Building licenses is a risky strategy for Wang, who has built her reputation on a luxury bridal collection and a high-end ready-to-wear line.
Ralph Lauren has managed to license out its home division, eyewear, intimates and other categories without diluting its brand, but other brands like Burberry have struggled with having too many licensed products. By the early 1990s, for example, the British stalwart had licensed its name to everything from cookies to liquor. (The brand began buying back its licenses in the late-1990s.) It’s likely a conundrum that Wang and Vera Wang Group President Mario Grauso are paying careful attention to -- they want their customers to watch their glamorous New York fashion week runway shows and then buy the $30 T-shirts, en masse.
Published at 11:19 AM EDT on May 11, 2012