When it comes to brands expanding their size range, we’ve heard more excuses than Trump has for not releasing his tax returns. Some cite material cost, others cite customer needs, and some honestly admit that they’re flummoxed over fit. But we’ve quickly seen that the most painless way for a high-end straight-size brand to reach the fashion majority is through a collaboration with plus-size clothing-rental website Gwynnie Bee. Today, Tocca joins that list.
Although Tocca might currently be best known for its fragrances, the label originally launched as a luxury clothing company in 1994. Its successful beauty launch in 1997 led to the eventual transformation of the brand, but we’ve been missing its sophisticated designs since it stopped producing clothing a few years ago. “Our beauty business took off over the last several years, which has been great,” Gordon Finkelstein, the company's president and CEO, tells Refinery29. “We’ve always had a following for our home fragrances and personal-care lines, but we really saw a big pickup in our fine fragrance business, and that’s helped drive sales across all our categories. We’re lucky that we have some ardent fans of Tocca, and we want to make sure we’re investing in and nurturing this side of the business.”
Besides Gwynnie Bee’s already extensive offerings of both in-house and brand-name designs, the company has given well-known designers, such as Rachel Antonoff and Hemant and Nandita, the exclusive opportunity to collaborate on collections for women they’ve never been able to reach previously. Thanks to its comprehensive knowledge on plus-size garment fit, brands with no experience with fuller figures can feel confident that the collection will be a success from the start.
“We were attracted to Gwynnie Bee’s deep knowledge of the plus market and their active and thoughtful community,” Finkelstein said. “They were able to provide technical expertise on how to adjust our patterns for the best fit, which materials worked, as well as great feedback on what styles/colors/assortments are popular. It took the risk out of stepping into a brand new market for us.” Gwynnie Bee’s VP of merchandising, Jessica Dvorett, adds, “I think that is a huge part of what the partnership with Gwynnie Bee brings; it’s demystified, what is perceived to be the challenge of moving from straight size to plus size, and that’s where our expertise really comes in. We can really make it a fairly painless process to take a brand’s design aesthetic and help them make it more relevant and great-fitting as well.”
If the nine-piece, size 14-24W collection looks familiar to Tocca fans, well, there’s a good reason for that. “The collection was intended to inspire the feeling of Tocca and to introduce the Gwynnie Bee customer to the true spirit of the brand, largely through our classic Tocca prints,” Finkelstein explains. Recognizable standout patterns include an elegant feather motif and a bold floral illustration. But those who are print-phobic needn’t worry, as the collection also offers refined solid-color styles.