J.C. Penney Launches Styles Inspired by Marilyn Monroe

Sixty years after her death, Marilyn Monroe is still one of the world’s most famous women and enduring sex symbols.

Now J.C. Penney Co. Inc., collaborating with the Authentic Brands Group, is tapping into the legacy of the legend, with a 12-piece capsule collection called “Marilyn Monroe by JCPenney.”

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Val Harris, Penney’s senior vice president of product design, trend and brand management, said the collection reflects Marilyn Monroe’s “effortless style and fashion legacy with feminine silhouettes and polished looks and the off-screen Marilyn, the humanitarian, artist and entrepreneur.”

J.C. Penney’s Marilyn Monroe-inspired collection has a playful spirit.
J.C. Penney’s Marilyn Monroe-inspired collection has a playful spirit.

Launched Thursday at 300 J.C. Penney’s stores and on jcp.com, the capsule collection offers capri pants, shirtings, full-skirted sundresses cinched at the waist; a color palette of black, white, coral and navy blue; classic stripes and floral patterns, and an inclusive range of sizes from XS to 3X. There’s also a special edition of Keds with Marilyn Monroe-inspired design details that will be sold at the retailer in late May.

“Marilyn’s fashion legacy continues to influence today’s styles, and these crisp, clean designs really capture the essence of her off-screen persona,” said Dana Carpenter, executive vice president, entertainment at ABG, the brand development, marketing and entertainment company that owns the Marilyn Monroe Estate. ABG has become instrumental in feeding Penney’s with new merchandise concepts and labels, including Forever 21 and Juicy Couture, which are part of the group’s portfolio of brands associated with both living and deceased legends including Elvis Presley, Muhammad Ali, Shaquille O’Neal, David Beckham, Dr. J and Thalía, as well as Sports Illustrated, Reebok and other brands.

Bringing Marilyn Monroe-inspired looks to J.C. Penney reflects the retailer’s efforts over the past three years to rev up revenues and differentiate and sharpen the identity of key in-house labels, like St. John’s Bay, Xersion and a.n.a., and add greater exclusivity to the business. The team also reset the women’s selling floors with an easier-to-shop, lifestyle format with enhanced visuals and more thoughtful and obvious mannequin setups to make the settings less confusing and cluttered. “We are excited to have ABG help us fill some white space in our portfolio,” Michelle Wlazlo, Penney’s executive vice president and chief merchant, told WWD in an interview last year.

J.C. Penney is jointly owned by the Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management, the parent of Brookfield Properties. Simon also has a joint venture with ABG, called SPARC, which develops sportswear and footwear and owns Aéropostale, Brooks Brothers, Nautica, Lucky Brand and Eddie Bauer.

The JCPenney Marilyn Monroe capsule collection is size inclusive.
The JCPenney Marilyn Monroe capsule collection is size inclusive.

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