We For Women
“Women are buying our clothes,” says Company of We designer and co-founder Christopher Crawford, thus starting down the same path as Marcus Wainwright and David Neville of Rag & Bone and Neil Barrett, who wended their way into womenswear when girls wouldn’t take no for an answer. (In their honorary company: Hedi Slimane, whose Dior Homme suits were so slim-cut that some women could wear them straight off the rack.) And so, the two-year-old menswear label is dipping a toe into women’s with the same ethos of exceedingly affordable fashion that characterized its menswear—the recessionary answer, you could say, to Michael Bastian’s $700 shorts.
Crawford and co-founder Jayzel Samonte started Company of We as an online-only business. It’s since expanded to retail at Saks Fifth Avenue, Oak, and Holt Renfrew. But the pair has kept their foray into the crowded women’s contemporary market to a tightly controlled litmus test. The debut holiday capsule is only available at a pop-up shop in the West Village through December. “I want to get a better idea of who she is,” Crawford explains. “Women are much more finicky about fit than men.”
But there’s lots to love in COW womenswear, which ranges from its boyish origins of tuxedo pants ($168) and lean, long blazers ($248) into the more feminine territory of an ice blue knife-pleated organza skirt ($162, below left), a silvery lace dress ($172, above left), and a mixed metallic gold and silver Dietrich-esque gown ($348), which has already sold out. The collection sits nicely next to the menswear. Nothing is overly vampy or saccharine. To wit: A little organza jacket with razored ruffles ($298) gets a heather gray jersey lining. The pair has already been ringing up a brisk business for both boys and girls since the pop-up opened just before Thanksgiving. But if you miss the women’s merch this time around, worry not: They’re planning an official debut collection for Fall 2011.
Company of We is open through the end of December at 37 Cornelia St., NYC, 212-537-9104,www.companyofwe.com.