>> After testing the waters with Hussein Chalayan and Proenza Schouler collaborations, six-year-old denim company J Brand is set to debut its very own high-end sportswear line for Spring 2012. The 140-piece collection of office-to-evening separates — which will carry the same label as the brand's signature jeans — is priced from $200 to $1,500 and is meant to hang alongside the likes of Isabel Marant and Rag & Bone. "The initiative we set out from the very beginning was to build a fashion brand," CEO Jeff Rudes told WWD.
With a palette of understated solids — lilac, black, grey — the line is also primarily absent of the material that made the brand famous; instead, newly-hired design director Donald Oliver (who has stints at Vera Wang and Calvin Klein under his belt) has elected to use fabrics such as silk chiffon and lambskin. "We paid a lot of attention to details, making the garment feel special to the wearer," Oliver said, adding of the intended customer: "We wanted her to be easygoing, uncomplicated, subtly sophisticated. We wanted her to feel relevant, not trendy, not like she’s trying too hard, which is why I think the garments have an ease about them."
Though only 60 of the company's 2,500 retail doors will offer the line in the first season, the launch is just the first in a series of planned expansions for the brand over the next few years; accessories, menswear, and flagship stores in 6 cities are also in the works. Click through to see images from the new collection, with a full lookbook coming next week — just in time for Fashion Week.