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Rocker Chic

The latest line from Donald J Pliner is in tune with a younger market.

By Jacquelyn Lewis, Footwear News

New York – February 13, 2012 –Neal Salisbury, the newest designer at Donald J Pliner, is all about rock ’n’ roll, the color purple and pushing the design envelope.

As the creative force behind the company’s recently unveiled diffusion line, DMSX, he has given the collection a decidedly city-chic vibe, with Prince as his muse.

DMSX includes a variety of boots, pumps, flats, sandals and wedges. In fact, styles run the gamut from a refined pointy-toe flat in tan vachetta to an urban metallic-purple boot on a white platform. Materials include burnished nappas, patents and calf hair, and each sole is colored in the label’s signature “Shanghai purple.”

The line, which is the first launch since private-equity firm Castanea Partners acquired Pliner last year, is aimed at a 25- to 35-year-old consumer. That is significantly younger than the average customer for the company’s other offerings: Donald J Pliner, Lisa for Donald J Pliner and Donald J Pliner Signature. Naturally, that shopper also has a smaller budget than those who buy the other brands, and DMSX retails for between $100 and $200.

“My customer understands quality, but she is not really getting it in the market right now,” Salisbury said. “She is looking for a product that has a little more status, but she doesn’t want to spend $500 or $600 on a pair of boots.”

The collection, which is produced in China, also will include a fall selection of men’s styles at similar price points. DMSX is targeting major retailers such as Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, as well as e-commerce sites including Zappos.com, Shopbop.com, Piperlime.com and Revolveclothing.com.

Salisbury described the footwear’s overall look as “sexy without trying too hard.

“The shoes have a boldness, yet they are pulled back,” he said. “It’s about signature details such as oversized zippers.”

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