Hit television show “Empire” now officially has its own collection at Saks Fifth Avenue. Hollywood producer Lee Daniels kicked off the festivities at the department store Sept. 12 to celebrate the launch of the exclusive collection inspired by the show.
“When I was a kid I used to boost,” said Daniels. “Boost is stealing. My sister and I — who Cookie [Lyons in the show] is based on–used to go to Saks and we’d boost. We’re keeping it real right now; it’s ‘Empire’ time.”
If “Empire” fans needed another reason to get excited for the second season of the show, Saks Fifth Avenue is certainly doing its best to give one.
“Empire,” which has become a cultural juggernaut for Fox, has touched on fashion and music trends that have captured the attention of millions of weekly viewers. Seventeen million people alone tuned into the season finale last spring.
Saks teamed with Jimmy Choo, MGM, Cushnie et Ochs and Alexis Bittar to curate a special collection of “Empire” worthy looks that embrace the luxe-meets-street style aesthetic of the show. It’s not only just a major cultural and fashion moment, but also one that Saks is definitely hoping will drive new faces and shoppers.
In the crowd at the launch party were show stars Terrance Howard, Trai Byers, Grace Gealey, Kaitlin Doubleday, Gabourey Sidibe and Ta’Rhonda Jones. Just hours later they’d all be whisked away to Carnegie Hall for a viewing party.
Saks president Marc Metrick and “Empire” producers Daniels and Danny Strong were also there to celebrate, as were the designers of Cushnie et Ochs and Alexis Bittar.
It was also a moment for celebrating the fashion of the show. Guests were dressed in their best. Red soled, sky high stilettos and seriously shimmering booties were the looks of the hour. In the crowd men sported Gucci fur loafers and freshly shined lace-up dress shoes. The occasional Nike kicks could be sighted too.
Kaitlin Doubleday, who plays Rhonda in the show, attended in a head to toe white ensemble paired and silver Stuart Weitzman Nudist heels. She said she was excited for the new season and the new fashion pieces she got to wear.
“I got bangs! And that really inspired Lee to go to the ‘Valley of the Dolls,’ sixties mod look. We really went there too,” said Doubleday.
From high-waisted bell bottoms to Saint Laurent tops with the neck ties and printed shoes, the looks were an exciting change after season one. “I love it. I borrow from Rhonda’s wardrobe in my real life all the time. I even borrowed her Saint Laurent boots with me on this trip!”
Actor Trai Byers was also excited for the change his character was getting. Andre Lyon, the eldest son of Empire Records, was trading in his suits for colors and lighter fabrics in season two.
“He gets more personality revealing clothes. He’s breaking out into other looks as he’s going deeper into the wormhole of his identity. He’s really shedding the mask of the suit and he’s wearing lighter colors and things that are a little edgier, which is absolutely more fun for me,” said Byers.
You can catch the season two premiere on Wednesday, Sept. 28 and see looks inspired by the show in the windows at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York and Beverly Hills, Calif.