Daunting doesn't even begin to describe this aim. Today, Gloria Vanderbilt jeans, at the most, mind you, sell for $38. Brand loyalists buy them at Kohl's, Sears, Roebuck & Co. and J.C. Penney. Gloria Vanderbilt's path to premium starts this September with a $1 million print campaign featuring Kate Moss and Giselle Bundchen. Jack Gross, president of the Gloria Vanderbilt division of the $4.6 billion Jones Apparel Group retail empire, admits the switch will be tricky and will not be rushed. A midtier label, GV Gold, ships in the fourth quarter of this year and carries a price point of $44.
Marshal Cohen, chief analyst at NPD Group, believes GV couldn't have picked a more challenging time to head upstream, considering 54% of consumers who shop in upscale stores also shop in the discount channel. "How do you sell a pair of jeans for $150 when every other customer has seen the same brand of jeans for $30?" he asked. "Just maybe if they can market it right and justify the cost, they've got a shot. I'm dying to watch how they pull this one off."