In time for its 10-year anniversary, Theia is launching two new labels: Theia Couture and a more affordable diffusion line called Love by Theia.
The eight styles in the couture line will be sold in 18 Neiman Marcus stores. Theia Couture will be one of three labels — with Teri Jon and Badgley Mischka being the others — that will be housed together starting this month in a new department, according to designer Don O’Neill. The retailer bought approximately 100 units per style, he added.
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An unexpected anniversary present arrived via Princess Stephanie’s decision to wear a beaded Theia cocktail gown to her son Louis Ducruet’s wedding to Marie Chevallier in Monaco last weekend. The royal and her stylist Schanel Bakkouche had first scouted out the collection online. The original plan was to collaborate to create something unique, so several dresses were sent to help get the ideas going. As it turned out, a $750 pale yellow primrose dress fit like a glove so the decision began and ended there. “She loved the dress. The only thing she did was shorten it a little bit, because she has fabulous legs and wanted to show them off,” O’Neill said. “It has become quite the sensation in Europe because she has quite the following.”
By his recollection, they offered to pay for it. “Most of these people don’t take these dresses as gifts. I think it’s protocol that they pay for them,” he said, noting how the Duchess of Sussex wore Theia in late October during a trip to Tonga.
Theia’s signature collection continues forward. Globally, that label is offered in 350 doors retailing from $495 to $1,295. The 17-style Love by Theia collection ships to stores this month and is also being sold online, as is the Couture line. The latter retails from $1,995 to $2,295. That more affordable assortment is also making its debut at Neiman Marcus. “We like to say it’s ageless, but actually it’s a very youthful line,” he said.
The decision to move on that younger collection stemmed partially from the success of the company’s bridal collection, which was introduced nine years ago. Another factor was strong sales for a bridesmaids assortment that launched six years ago. That attracted a wave of women between their late teens and into their early 30s. “We were being followed by all these girls who loved what we were offering in bridesmaids. There was really nothing that we were offering them in eveningwear. We kept getting requests for styles for these girls, so we decided we need to address this customer,” O’Neill said.
To start, 12 to 15 styles of occasion wear will be offered each month for the Love by Theia label. To try to keep the collection attainable, the prices range from $198 to $450. O’Neill will be making the rounds this fall, visiting six Neiman Marcus stores for trunk shows. Tysons Corner, Paramus, Charlotte, Houston and Oakbrook, Ill. will be among his stops. A runway show and cocktail party that will benefit Philadelphia’s Academy of Music are being planned for his visit to the King of Prussia mall. Neiman Marcus was the first to pick up his collection a decade ago.