By Mimi O'Connor Posted January 24, 2008, 12:35 PM EST
There's no shortage of associations with the Members Only brand: '80s fashion staple, ironically co-opted hipster accessory, cover-up of choice for way too many male characters in The Sopranos. While new Members Only creative director and designer Kelli Delaney isn't gunning to erase these memories from people's minds, she's definitely hoping they'll be eclipsed.
Her first strike in the effort was a celebration of the relaunch of the brand at luxe department store Henri Bendel on Tuesday evening, where the press, the odd celeb (such as Katrina Bowden from 30 Rock), and the public could preview the 40-piece line while sipping cocktails and grooving to a set from DJ Jacques Renault. The event also featured the promotion of celebrity hair stylist (and good friend of Delaney's) Ken Paves's Clip-In Extensions, which he created with Jessica Simpson. (Paves's team provided complimentary styling sessions to those who purchased one of the $100 extensions.)
As Delaney explained, this is not your mother's Members Only. “I am targeting 18-to-34-year-old women who read the celebrity weeklies, have their favorite star whose style they like to emulate, and who shop where they shop.” The line, which was neatly displayed on racks surrounded by skinny models sporting the garments, reflects this, with signature pieces including updated bomber and biker jackets in Italian gold metallic and quilted patent leather, respectively. (The prices reflect this, too: A camel calfskin fitted jacket retails for $1,100.)
Delaney, a former stylist and fashion editor at Us Weekly and Star who also designed the new line and produced the event, hoped to infuse the brand and the evening with the spirit of young Hollywood and celebrity culture. Members of the press received a glossy full-color look book in the style of a celebrity tabloid, featuring a fictional narrative chronicling a young Hollywood love triangle (with the players sporting Members Only), emblazoned with a lot of big pink headlines. (Old habits and all.)
The line will be available only at select merchants, including Bendel, Kitsen, and Fred Segal. The designer feels that the key to marketing the clothing is to get it into the hands (and onto the bodies) of the young and fabulous set, but she's not interested in just anyone sporting a new Members Only item. When asked if the line would end up in any high-end gift bags, she explained, “I'm not going to be some swag hound's gift horse.”