As department stores continue to pile on brand exclusives to lure customers, Bloomingdale’s and French Connection have a new brand that has just soft-launched on bloomingdales.com. Introducing Pippa, with the tag line “the new office must-haves”.
Pippa was developed by French Connection, though as of right now, I see no visible evidence of tagging Pippa along with the name French Connection. The full collection launches exclusively at Bloomingdale’s stores in the second week of August. Apparently there is quite a demand for on-trend suiting separates that cater to the office crowd. The current merchandise offered on bloomingdales.com is a well-rounded mix ranging from sheath dresses to cardigans, a monochromatic print and a selection of black pants. I think the price points will be a major selling point, with dresses coming in around $148, tops at $88 and bottoms at $118.
Now, work separates haven’t exactly hung in my closet since the early 00s when it was a prerequisite for every girl in NYC to own a pair of black Theory pants. And as far as I could remember, Theory has had a HUGE presence at Bloomingdale’s for at least the past 10 years. While it’s not my shop-in-shop of choice, they’ve always had adequate floor space which has to mean that they’re doing something right. But here’s the thing, one quick search on Bloomingdale’s website for Theory yields over 120 results and the prices are outrageous! I mean their clothes have always been well made contemporary work separates but with many prices falling above the $200 mark, it’s almost a no-brainer for Bloomingdale’s and French Connection to launch a comparable line catering to the same customer for a fraction of the price. I know there are many die-hard Theory fans out there (and I am thoroughly excited to see Olivier Theyskens’ capsule collection for Theory this Fall) but it seems as though there is demand out there for similar product at a lower price range. I think Bloomingdale’s growth of their private label Aqua is also testament to the customer wanting on-trend merchandise for less. It will be interesting to follow Pippa’s launch (and perhaps later distribution to other retailers), and as well, I wonder if Pippa becomes a big deal, if Theory would consider launching a diffusion line to compete at that level. Or maybe we’ll see more designer capsule collections from Theory, which isn’t a bad idea either.