Brief

J. Crew rejuvenates merchandise with party dress collection

Dive Brief:

  • J. Crew has unveiled a new line of party dresses that is drawing raves from fashion critics. The collection includes 64 styles from formal cocktail dresses to top-and-skirt ensembles, ranging in price from $88 to $298, according to the Huffington Post, which described them as “totally swoon-worthy.”

  • The line, available now online and coming to stores next month, includes “emotional pieces that any woman or girl would wear to any occasion, whether it was to a party, a date, or just a fun get together with friends,” J.Crew womenswear designer Somsack Sikhounmuong told the Huffington Post.

  • The new release comes as J. Crew is struggling to regain its esteem even among some of its most ardent fans, who have complained about the decline in quality and fit in the retailer’s apparel

Dive Insight:

J. Crew’s new “Ready to Party” collection appears to be something of a substitute for its popular bridal line, which the retailer shut down last year amid declining sales. The move also looks to be a continued departure from its traditionally more tailored classic styling, which also includes a plan to jump into the popular athleisure space.

In 2015, CEO Mickey Drexler admitted the retailer had “made mistakes,” especially in finding the right mix of sweater merchandise, with some styles selling out and others underselling. "The love our customers have for us is extraordinary. I think we clearly got sloppy when you miss the fundamentals that you need to have," he said at the time. 

Later that year, as it laid off some 175 of its headquarters staff, the company brought over then-Madewell head of design Sikhounmuong, replacing women’s design chief Tom Mora to lead J. Crew’s design team. 

As it tries to revamp its clothing lines, J. Crew is also mired in debt and legal problems. The apparel retailer is in discussions with creditors to renegotiate its approximately $2 billion debt load and on Dec. 15 it began to execute a plan to transfer its intellectual property to an unrestricted Cayman Islands subsidiary. Earlier this month, the company filed suit in New York State Supreme Court, Commercial Division, alleging that an ad hoc group of lenders aims to disrupt its capital restructuring plans

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Filed Under: Corporate News
Top image credit: J Crew