November 21, 2007

another win for the mainstream.


a spring 2008 look that will no longer be produced

jones apparel group decided today to shutter the anne klein designer collection, which has been done by isabel toledo since the f/w 07.08 season. the resort collection will be the last for the label. the designer division at anne klein has a rich history, started in 1968. in march 1974, klein died of breast cancer (the same day head designer donna karan was giving birth to daughter gabby). karan continued to work for klein until she too left to start her own company in 1989. louis dell’olio, co-head designer and a classmate of karan’s at parsons then took over. since his departure, the designer collection has been done by everyone from richard tyler and patrick robinson to charles nolan.

f/w 07.08, currently in stores

it’s a reversal from the line that the jones group originally towed, saying when they bought the line in 2003 that it was being singled out as a growth opportunity and have a trickle down effect on the other klein brands (anne klein new york and ak anne klein). toledo was brought in mainly because of her creativity, and in her two bryant park shows created generous buzz and some stellar pieces that were at once grown up and sophisticated yet modern and fresh. i had a chance to see some of the collection up close at the barneys here (klein’s only sf retailer) and i truly loved what she was doing. the knitwear especially stood out to me.

i know that in this day and age, it’s expensive to maintain a designer line, with runway shows and the like, but how is it that heatherette, sweetface, l.a.m.b., and house of deréon can do it and anne klein can’t? how can you pull the plug on something before it really has a chance to get going? if you go into macy’s on union square, there is an entire floor devoted to bridge: michael michael kors, jones new york, lauren, alfani, i.n.c., nine west. all of them look the same. do businesswomen really need two more boring bridge lines? i can only hope that someone else snatches up toledo and does what jones didn’t seem to have the nerve to do: design a strong and powerful collection for women that will elevate bridge and keep it from falling off one.

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