Elisa Dahan, who was instrumental in building Mackage and turning it into a recognizable label, is debuting her first direct-to-consumer company.
Named for her late mother, Dodiee is a label that specializes in knitwear that aims to blend knitwear and shapewear, with compression components. A year ago, Dahan exited Montreal-based Mackage, where she’d worked since 2000, a year after the company was started.
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Dahan and Eran Elfassy began at Mackage by creating a contemporary outerwear business before delving into ready-to-wear in 2010, handbags in 2013, then opening a few freestanding stores. Five years ago, the New York-based Lee Equity Partners’ InterLuxe Holdings Group took a majority stake in Mackage’s parent company APP Group for an undisclosed amount. Dahan remains a minority shareholder in Mackage, although she is not actively involved with the business, and said she is “super-proud of what we have been able to build” and is now ready to build another company.
Mackage is now being led by Tanya Golesic, a seasoned industry executive, joined Mackage as chief executive officer in 2021.
The concept for Dodiee was something that Dahan had been thinking about for a long time.
Launched Thursday online, Dodiee was inspired by her mother, who died at the age of 45. “She didn’t have a chance to live the grand life that she should have. The whole premise of the brand is about a woman living a grand life,” Dahan said.
The company’s logo was drawn from her mother’s signature from a letter that she had written to Dahan’s father on their wedding day. A tulip icon stems from doodles that her mother has done. Borrowing such elements allowed Dahan “to reconnect with her late mother in a nice way and to give her life,” she said. “I feel that everybody should say her name forever. I want to build a timeless brand and see her signature on everything. I think she deserves that,” Dahan said.
Dodiee aims to merge knitwear with properties of shapewear with compression in key areas like the stomach and hips. The body-contouring styles are meant to “adapt to women rather than having women adapt to clothes,” Dahan said. Dresses including a maxi style that can be dressed up or down, as well as office-appropriate dresses, and pants, which are expected to be key categories. She declined to comment about first-year projected volume.
Retail prices for Dodiee range from about $550 for a shrug to $1,500 for a calf-length all-cashmere thick cable-knit dress with a hand-crocheted tulip accent. Targeting the U.S. market for the launch, Dodiee is scouting locations in New York’s SoHo neighborhood for a pop-up. That is important for the Montreal-based founder to better understand the brand’s consumers through their feedback and to allow them to see the brand’s full range, she said.
Half of the collection is produced in Italy and the other half is made in China.
Dahan is joined by former Mackage chief marketing officer Marianne Lauzon, who is now president of Dodiee.
The stylist Erin Walsh, Jacquemus’ chief digital officer Alexandra Nervi Isaac Georges and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, cofounder of Gilt and Glamsquad, are among the advisers who have been helping Dahan through “the whole process,” she said. “I feel very well-surrounded by people, with other expertise that really challenge me and make me go farther, which is really exciting.”