To the delight of nostalgic ’90s teens everywhere, Delia’s — or, more accurately, dELiA*s — announced in April via Instagram that it would be making its epic return on August 6. The retailer filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 2014; in February, dELiA*s was purchased for $2.5 million by Steve Russo of Fab/Starpoint, which counts Alloy, Hello Kitty, and Artisan House in its portfolio. The beloved brand’s redux will be focused on denim, graphic T-shirts, and party dresses, which are “key categories dELiA*s has been known for in the past,” according to Patricia Johnson, the brand’s EVP and chief merchandising officer. Sizes will range from 00 to 13, and price points include $19.90 for graphic tees, $49 for denim, and $59.90 to $79.90 for party dresses. Those prices seem pretty consistent with what they were in the late ’90s (evidenced by this “Still Hot Summer ’99” issue), which, factoring in inflation, making for a cheaper dELiA*s than you grew up with. The dELiA*s customer of 2015 is expected to be “a young girl, but not too young,” Johnson says, though she wouldn’t give a specific age range. “There’s such a void for a true junior business. Where do go as a real teenager, instead of jumping from The Children’s Place to H&M and Forever 21 — or, as I call it, Forever 41, [places that] moms and daughters can both shop? Where is that in-between for true young teenagers?”
Striking the right balance for a “true junior” customer base means exposed midriff might be okay. “If we do a crop top, it won’t be super-short, obviously. We’d definitely make sure it’s not too sexy,” Johnson says. There won’t be anything too tween-y, either, apparently: "But we also don’t want to go too young — there won’t be a bunch of glitter on a T-shirt, like you’d find at Justice.” Most of the items will be dELiA*s-branded. Other brands on offer include Dickies Girl, Madden Girl, Steve Madden, Converse, and Superga. The “magazine” component of the relaunch — a fancy word for “catalog” — has a new art director and will “feel like a zine,” with, according to Johnson, stories about, say, styling your Converses five different ways, and the like. “It’s very all-inclusive. Some models look a little older, some look a little younger, so all of our readers can all be included,” she says. The logo looks exactly the same: “We’re evoking some of that nostalgia of the ’90s.” But the main appeal might be the act of receiving real live snail mail, according to Johnson: “Girls don’t get mail anymore, so there’s something exciting about receiving a catalog. It’s special; it feels like an experience.” (It was pretty exciting and adult to get mail back in the ’90s, too, wasn’t it?) Themes in the upcoming catalog include “the ’90s grunge look — a plaid shirt with a great graphic tee and a combat boot,” and “lots of ’80s prep, with ballerina flats and fit-and-flare dresses,” Johnson says. Serious ’90s nerds, take note: When the holidays roll around, there will be crushed velvet dresses.