Nine West Taps Rugged Roots for Line

NEW YORK — Nine West is going Old West.

The footwear giant recently unveiled Nine West Vintage America, a collection for fall ’09 that marks a departure from the brand’s typical dress and tailored looks — and that also offers a more rugged and casual aesthetic.

“There’s a very American feeling in this,” said Fred Allard, creative director at Nine West. “It’s coming back to the roots of the American way, like the West, with raw materials and rustic textures.”

The collection, which includes footwear, denim, handbags and other accessories, is set to retail at Macy’s and other department stores, as well as at Nine West shops and online. Footwear will be priced similarly to Nine West’s past collections, between $59 and $169, and handbags will average about $145. Denim will sell for less than $70, and belts will cap at about $58.

The collection marks a first for Nine West, which has never before created a collection that coordinates every element, from jeans to sandals and vests to belts. The idea, said Rick Paterno, group president of wholesale footwear, was to create a complete collection that meshes fashion with the changing American perspective.

“There’s a cultural shift going on in this country and the world, and we really believe this shift will and is having a huge impact on fashion,” Paterno said. “If you look around — at the economy and recession, a new president in the White House, the green movement — all these things are having an impact on fashion.”

The inaugural collection, presented to buyers and retailers during a FFANY party earlier this month, includes about 50 styles of shoes, boots and sandals, 15 handbags, 13 belt designs and eight kinds of denim. Tony Pelle, VP and DMM of Macy’s East, has picked up the Vintage America line for all his doors and said the collection captures the nation’s changing views toward fashion.

“Nine West did a great job in responding to the shift in lifestyle trend to more casual footwear,” Pelle said. “We certainly have seen growth in fashion casuals while dress and tailored shoes have slowed down dramatically. Denim is driving fashion today, and Vintage America is a perfect footwear complement. The look of the product is very authentic.”

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