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Intro to Fashion Business: Ready-To-Wear Analysis Women’s Peplum Dresses December 4, 2013 By Alissa Burke

Table of Contents Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 3 History of the Peplum Dress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 4 Bloomingdale’s Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 5-7 Nordstrom Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 8-10 Macy’s Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 11-13


Overview The peplum dress is a timeless look, which instantly creates flair. For this project, I choose to focus my attention on a piece that is versatile and can be found in any store no matter if it is designer or budget.

History of the Peplum Dress A form of the peplum, or overskirt, started back in the 1800s. The look came around during the time of the hoop skirt. Women were able to attached pieces onto their dresses to add embellishments and style. The ‘Peplum’ as we know it today, appeared in the 1940s and 1950s where it became popular. The idea behind the look was to create a thinner waist but fuller hips. The emphasis on women’s curves was very important in creating the design. Today, the peplum has become a huge look on the runway with fashion designers from all over creating their own style. Peplums have gone through many looks, such as bows, uneven, one side detail, and full out flare. The peplum has evolved since its start in the 1800s, and can be found in all stores made by all types of designers. I went to three stores, Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom’s, and Macy’s in order to found out about the modern peplum.


The Store Experience – Bloomingdale’s Price Classification: Designer Retailer: Bloomingdale’s Item: Peplum dress by Catherine Malandrino I started off my search for the peplum dress in Bloomingdale’s for my designer price range. Upon entering Bloomingdale’s it felt very clean, and the store was well lite. The merchandise was very put together, and I noticed woman walking through the store hanging up clothes and making sure they looked presentable. Most of the clothing was folded neatly on the displays, and very few items were out of place. The store had many displays that were not messy, to my surprise, since it was around the holidays. The customer service was very helpful and friendly after I asked them to help me find some peplum dresses. I had a short conversation with one of the ladies working after she politely asked me if I needed any assistance. Next I ventured to the dressing room, which was very clean as far as dressing rooms go. There were no extra garments in the room I choose. The mirrors were very clean, and the room was spacious, there was a bench allowing me to put down my things. Just by being in the dressing room, I felt the upscale feel of the store.

My overall experience for Bloomingdale’s was very positive. The people were helpful and friendly, the store did not look cluttered, and the displays were elegant.

The Garment Details – Bloomingdale’s Fiber and Care: Shell: polyester, cotton, spandex; lining: polyester, nylon, polyamide; embroidery: acrylic, polyester, dry clean only. Country of Origin: France Detailed Garment Description: Sleeveless, above the knee, form fitting skirt, crewneck, embroidered top, peplum waist skirt, concealed back zipper Suggested Retail Price: $495.00 Size Range: 0-12 Styling: The dress is in a classic style, which is updated with an embroidered top. It is in a white and has a simple skirt with no detail. Signature Design Elements: This peplum dress has two different textures, which is a common element in Catherine’s pieces. The detailed embroidering can be found throughout her collections. The neckline is another design that is specific to her style. On this peplum dress, the neckline is an elegant crew neck which is another signature look found in her pieces. Target Customer: This piece was designed for a woman that falls under the upper middle to upper class. Each piece in Catherine’s collection is very expensive due to the handmade work, and the fabrics used. The embellishments used in this piece, and many others, are handmade and are very intricate.


Historical Importance Joseph and Lyman Bloomingdale founded Bloomingdale’s in the 1800s. Their store was different because they choose not to specialize with just one item unlike most stores during this time. The store slowly grew and sold many types of European fashions. The store advertised itself everywhere in order to get as many customers through their door. In order to create more traffic, the store became a scene for fashion shows, events, and galas. Throughout the decades, the Bloomingdales came up with a ‘designer’ shopping bag in order to have a creative detail unique to them. The store was important to many upcoming designers. It was a starting point for now famous designers such as Norma Kamali, Perry Ellis, and Ralph Lauren. Today, Bloomingdale’s still works to find ways to keep their store distinctive from other large department stores. The peplum is an important piece that can be found throughout the store. After the hoop skirt faded from the scene, the peplum slowly evolved. It is a very feminine piece that high fashion designers create in their own style. Bloomingdale’s carries a vast amount of styles to choose from. The piece has become a staple in the Bloomingdale’s merchandise selection.

The Store Experience – Nordstrom Price Classification: Bridge Retailer: Nordstrom Item: Peplum dress by Adrianna Papell

Nordstrom had many displays in each of their departments with were festive and creative. Most of their displays were neat and clean. I did notice some employees walking the store and straightening anything out of place. It did not, however, feel as organized as Bloomingdale’s. There were more clothes that were unfolded and laying around, but it was a clean environment. The sales associates that helped me were nice and offered as much knowledge as they could. There was a lady working in the fitting room and offered to help me with trying on my dresses. The fitting room itself was still a decent size, and there was enough room to put down my things. The room itself was darker and it made a difference when trying on clothing. It felt clean and it was very quiet, there were few customers and few sales associates around. There was a small chair to set down items, and the mirror was large enough to see my outfit. Overall, the displays of the store were nice to look at, and were put together nicely. The women helping me were polite and I did not have a problem finding a peplum dress. The store was still clean but it did not feel as elegant and pricey as Bloomingdale’s did. There was music playing in the background, though it did not feel very lively.


The Garment Details – Nordstrom Fiber and Care: Nylon, rayon, dry clean only. Country of Origin: China Detailed Garment Description: Back zips concealed, partially lined, back keyhole, loop-and-button closure, lace, peplum skirt, three quarter sleeves, form fitted skirt Suggested Retail Price: $178.00 Size Range: 2-16 Styling: The dress is in a classic style, featuring lace sleeves and a knee length skirt. The style is very conservative and relaxed with a navy color. Signature Design Elements: The sheath peplum dress is covered in lace and just comes above the knee. The designer, Adrianna Papell has created many designers that feature a lace overlay. Adrianna Papell’s collections are very elegant but relaxed with muted colors and simple designers. These features are found in this peplum dress. The simplicity is what makes the dress elegant and timeless. Target Customer: The customers that this is aimed toward are middle to upper class shoppers. The dress is expensive but it is under two hundred which is a more affordable price compared to designer department stores. Adrianna designs her pieces for women that want to look and feel elegant. She creates pieces for the women that attend parties, events, and sophisticated outings.

Historical Importance Nordstrom was founded in the late 1880s by John W. Nordstrom after leaving Sweden to New York. After a difficult time working in mines, he left to Alaska where gold was being discovered. He was able to find enough to invest in a shoe store with a friend, and it was called Wallin & Nordstrom. John was eager to create a profit and used a business plan of extraordinary service, selection, and quality. The store slowly evolved and grew to eight locations. In order to gain a larger market, the store expanded into women’s fashion. In the 1970s the store became a public business and sales for the year reached $100 million. The company then opened Nordstrom Rack, which is a clearance outlet for their complete line stores. The company has been very successful in creating new ways to expand their name. They own fashion lines in Europe, the American online store Hautelook, and various boutiques. Today, the store is still very successful as the fourth generation family continues to own


company. Their store has grown as a fashion specialty chain that has gone global. The store prides itself in quality pieces. The peplum dress has been important to their has the store expands and evolves. The designers that work with the store are picked to make sure the Nordstrom customer gets the best quality and selection. The peplum is featured in their store, online, and as a fashion statement.

The Store Experience – Macy’s



Price Classification: Contemporary Retailer: Macy’s Item: Peplum dress by GUESS

Macy’s was crowded and loud, with quiet music playing in the background. Their displays were few but they added a pleasant feeling to the departments. They did, however, have the most unfolded clothes lying around and various items on different racks. Many of their sales racks and displays were overflowing with various pieces that did not have any organization to it. Visually, it was not as clean as the other two stores I had been to. After asking a sales associate for help, I was able to find the piece I was looking for. The lady that helped me was kind; although the over associates working the floor seemed to ignore the customers walking around the sections. I have been to Macy’s before, and while their customer service is not bad, there are not has many people willing to help. After I found a peplum dress I went to the dressing room, which had all sorts of garments hanging outside of it. There was no one working near it or inside of it. There were no clothes inside of my room, but it was very cramped and pretty dark. It was not messy but it did not feel as clean as the previous stores fitting rooms. Overall, it was not as impressive as the other two department stores. It was still organized and had its nice details such as the holiday music and festive decorations. The store was not as put together and there seemed to be a lack of employees for all the mess that needed to be folded and hung.

The Garment Details – Macy’s

Fiber and Care: Polyester, spandex; lining: polyester, dry clean only. Country of Origin: China Detailed Garment Description: Scoop neckline, sheer mesh back, studs on shoulders, peplum hem, sleeveless, wide straps, allover velvet fabric, lined, mid-thigh length, back zip concealed Suggested Retail Price: $118.00 Sale Price: $84.99 Size Range: 0-12 Styling: This black dress is in a classic peplum style, but has many trendy details. It features a scoop neck and a timeless look. But it also has studded shoulder, a large trend for fall and winter 2013. The mesh back is also a large trend found in many dresses for the fall. Signature Design Elements: The dress is a complete velvet fabric that has a simple peplum hem. The brand, GUESS, is famous for creating trendy looks that range from simple colors to loud prints and patterns. The dress is a tight fit, which is how most of their garments are designed. While the dress does have the signature peplum design, the mesh back and studded shoulders creates a more updated look and feel. Target Customer: The customers that this brand is targeting are those from the middle to upper middle class. The dress is not very expensive, but still pricier than a budget store. The dress is designed for women and was in a section of dresses suited for parties and more causal events. GUESS prides itself for creating fashion for the young trend setting men and women. This style is aimed toward a younger generation that likes trendy pieces.

Historical Importance


Macy’s was founded in the mid 1800s by Rowland Hussey Macy. Rowland came up with his signature red star symbol as a symbol of success. In the 1870s the store was already a fully complete department store. Macy’s is known for doing several firsts in the retail industry. They were the first to give a executive position to a woman. They created the one-price system which means merchandise was sold to all customers at one price. The created new products and was the first to have a liquor license. It became the world’s largest store with more than one million square feet of space. Macy’s was intent on growing and competing against competitors. They became public in the 1920s and bought out three companies within the decade. Also in the 1920’s, the Macy’s Christmas parade was created by immigrant employees in order to celebrate their new American heritage. This parade is now known as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Macy’s today is still very successful and powerful and has eight hundred stores that operate across the nation. The peplum dress has been around and in the department store since the 1800s as Macy’s was known for carrying many items and new trends. The peplum dress can still be found in their store from many different brands and designers.


Ready-To-Wear Analysis