30 years in business, executives at the 248-store retailer hope to
erase any perception of it left from the Nineties as a place for
teenagers to shop for prom dresses and tight logo T-shirts. Bebe’s
target audience — fashion-savvy women in their 20s and 30s with lots of
disposable income — is similar to A|X Armani, BCBG, Diesel and Guess.
don’t want to be a junior retailer," said Scott, adding that the
company is seeking sophistication in all facets of the business.
latest push to polish its affordable luxury credentials was the opening
in September of an accessories and footwear boutique, Neda by bebe, in San Francisco. The stores are named for Bebe’s vice
chairman, Neda Mashouf, the wife of chairman and founder Manny Mashouf.
A second Neda by bebe is to open next year in Los Angeles, and
other locations will follow.
The merchandise under the
Neda by bebe label is Italian made and sells for about $250 to $500,
including items such as $260 suede-patent leather satchels; $330
round-toe, red patent leather high heels with an ankle strap, and $500
rabbit fur baguette shoulder purses. There is a smattering of shoes in
the $500 range from other designers, such as Terry de Havilland’s
retro-Seventies platform sandals updated in a python print. Neda
Mashouf said the store wasn’t stocked with a list of must-have
trends in mind. "Personally, I don’t like to carry the ‘It,’ bag," she
Neda by bebe is intended to fill what company executives
consider to be a gap in the accessories and footwear market between
high-end labels and luxury names. That realm would fall above Charles
David and Stuart Weitzman, but below Dolce & Gabbana and Prada. The
Neda label is a step above the accessories line already sold in Bebe
stores and is being expanded.