Fashion's new label: Advanced Contemporary

London - Fashion loves a label, and what initially sounded like a discardable Americanism, looks like a term that is here to stay. We are talking about fashion's new accessible luxury category called advanced contemporary collections.

Carefully branded to not be mistaken for diffusion lines, although they very much could be, these are contemporary collections that are less expensive than mainlines but more upmarket than bridge and 'normal' contemporary collections.

Contemporary collections are an American invention and the backbone of its industry, which sees wide distribution channels and soaring US sales. These are relatively affordable fashion brands that can be seen on the catwalks in New York, but that should not be confused with luxury brands. Think of designers such as Tibi, Rebecca Taylor and Tory Burch.

Advanced Contemporary is a new category starting at price points of approximately 500 US dollars where mainline designers such as Jason Wu and Marc Jacobs are pitching collections of affordable luxury. Some have separate labels, such as Wu's new Grey collection, whereas others such as Marc Jacobs, are incorporating advanced contemporary price points into their mainlines.

To explain, when Jacobs announced he was folding his Marc by Marc Jacobs label into his mainline, it meant that he would be adding more price categories to his catwalk collection. Advanced contemporary items can vary between 500 to 1200 US dollars, so the range can still be expensive enough to feel luxurious, but there is no question of having to take out a mortgage to buy a designer handbag.

Image:Grey Jason Wu

 

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