Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Penney puts together fabulous party for Fabulosity launch

July 16, 2008

bestcrowd1.JPGA hot Manhattan club on a Saturday night? No, it’s the launch party for Fabulosity!

On Tuesday night, JC Penney didn’t let the difficult retail environment get it down.

The mid-priced department store operator threw a raucous party to celebrate the introduction of Fabulosity — the new sportswear line designed by former runway model Kimora Lee Simmons that it is introducing in its stores in time for the back-to-school shopping season.

kimorasmile.JPGAt Hiro, a club in Manhattan’s trendy Meatpacking district, the lighting was low, the music was loud and the drinks were free. The tightly packed crowd danced to music and clicked pictures of themselves while waiting for Simmons to arrive and introduce her new line with a fashion show.

When the lights went dark around 9:15 pm, signaling the start of the show, Ken Hicks, Penney’s president, came on the runway to welcome the crowd and say how the retailer was excited to be working with Simmons — a great “inspiration” for the hip-hop inspired clothing line.

While the audience hooted, hollered and cheered, Simmons was the one who mentioned the difficult conditions shoppers are facing.

“I really demand that all my divas look fabulous,” she told the audience, but she added that shoppers should not have to spend their last dime to look that way.

models.JPGThe fashion show then got underway with a pounding performance by a drum band followed by models strutting their stuff on the catwalk.

The Fabulosity line features knit tops, high-waisted jeans, hoodies and a healthy dose of gold accessories. The collection, meant to be fit among Penney’s “best” or highest priced tier, will range in price from $29 to $108.

When the show finished, gold and silver confetti burst from the ceiling, blanketing the room and making for slick walking conditions. The crowd then dusted itself off and headed toward the door, near Simmons’ entourage, eager to catch another glimpse of the star before heading off into the evening.

Now Penney just has to hope Middle America will be as eager to buy Simmons’ clothing line as Tuesday night’s crowd was to celebrate it.          

(Photos: Taken by Nicole Maestri at the launch party)

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