June 30, 2009

Designers to Watch: Charlotte Ronson (New York)

Falling somewhere between Isabel Marant and Chloë Sevigny on the vintage-inspired-downtown-chic fashion spectrum, somewhat lesser known than her twin sister who famously dated Lindsay Lohan, designer Charlotte Ronson has nonetheless managed to carve out a significant niche for herself in the fashion world, and with a surprising business partner: J.C. Penney.

What could a New York scenester and a staid department store chain have in common? Well, teenage shoppers, apparently. Ronson's accessible, sweet-but-almost-grungy Liberty-print dresses and rompers, high-waisted shorts, and back-buttoned cardigans translate so fluently to the mass-market line that it's nearly impossible to tell which of the above photos are from the discount line and which from her runway line. (Answer: the J.C. Penney line, called I Heart Ronson, is on the left). WWD reports today that Penney's stock has been upgraded, largely on the strength of their direct sourcing and private-label lines – including I Heart Ronson, no doubt.

Update 7/8/09: In a new survey, J.C. Penney ranked second, after Old Navy, among mall stores visited most by teens. Go, Charlotte, go!
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