Wall street journal
Is Discount a Good Fit for Vera
The Designer, on Pins and Needles
Over Kohl's Line, Discusses Brand
By VANESSA O'CONNELL
September 5, 2007; Page B1
Few designers are as prolific as Vera Wang.
Working as an editor and stylist at Vogue for 16 years
before moving to
Polo Ralph Lauren
Corp. as a design
director, she later built one of the world's best-known bridal businesses. She's now
branched out to other apparel: Her high-end collection this fall features $1,700
military-style jackets and $2,800 gowns; her midprice Lavender Label runs from
$350 skirts and pants to $900 dresses. Her licensing operations range from eyeware
to china, stationery and even mattresses (with Serta). And five perfumes bear the
Vera Wang signature. All told, her privately held empire generated at least $225
million in wholesale sales last year.
Now, Ms. Wang, 58 years old, has designed a line of dresses starting at $68 and
handbags starting at $49 for discount chain
Corp, bearing the name Simply
Vera Vera Wang.
As the cheap-chic apparel, accessories and home goods arrive Sunday at more than
800 Kohl's stores, naysayers are watching for signs that the line will weaken Ms.
Wang's image. Her high-end collection is only three years old, and many consumers
still know her best for her bridal gowns.
The Chinese-American designer, raised on Manhattan's tony Upper East Side,
recently took a break from preparing for her runway show at New York's fashion
week, which starts today, to discuss the new line. Ms. Wang, dressed in black
leggings and an oversize top at her Park Avenue home, reflected on the challenges
of building a powerful brand. Excerpts:
What's on your mind as you launch this Kohl's line?
Well, I am nervous. I would be dishonest if I said I wasn't. But I think I
brought intelligent fashion and style -- and a sense of who I am personally -- to the
merchandise. I took my best shot at it. And of course it is nerve-racking. I have
never gone this path, so it is a big job for me. I don't consider it a jump down, I