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2009 September 18

A New Ann

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(NEW YORK) You’ve no doubt seen the ad campaigns, painting billboards and sides of buses with signs proclaiming “the new Ann.” Ann Taylor is pushing to be seen in a new light, and the brand’s fashion show last night at the New York Public Library may have done just that. Editors Robbie Myers, Linda Wells and Cindi Leive came out, along with starlets Gretchen Mol, Joy Bryant, Katherine McPhee and more to see new designer Lisa Axelson’s effort to reimagine Ann Taylor.

“It’s more about a new mindset,” said Axelson of this new Ann. “It’s not that she’s different and the brand’s different, but we really wanted to address the fact that women have changed. We dress differently, our lives are more hectic than ever, and it was time for us to shrug off the old rules and old formulas and renew it with a little joie de vivre and youth. It’s really about making it relevant for today--it’s ageless.” In fact, the show, which was comprised of slouchy trench coats, lightly embellished blouses, killer jewelry and a perfect cropped trouser (note: not a harem pant or trendy pegged pant--this is still Ann Taylor, after all), could have easily been worn by any of the PYTs sitting front row.

“What’s interesting is when I first started, I spent a lot of time combing through the archives, dating back to the early ‘60s,” said Axelson. “The legacy that Ann is for a more mature client is really only from the last decade or two. When you go back and you look at what Ann become known for in the ‘60s, ‘70s and early ‘80s, it’s actually very fashion-savvy and chic. It was a destination for both mothers and daughters to shop. They might not buy the same pieces, but it was a brand that a variety of women could shop.” In addition to the younger spin on the collection, the brand introduced another new idea at the show: “See now, wear now,” a concept of seasonless dressing that meant most of the pieces in the show would be in stores within a month or two. “We’re all so fashion savvy,” she said. “We all watch the shows and love it, but then you have to wait! So we wanted to reach our client, get her excited, but also give her the joy of instant gratification.” Judging by the glee with which showgoers pulled their sparkling necklaces out of their gift bags, it seems they’ll be back in the store in no time.
EMILY GYBEN




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