Cosmopolitan is now offering another way for women to get in touch with their sexy sides, although it’s teamed up with a decidedly unsexy partner to do so. The Hearst Magazines juggernaut launched a line of lingerie, sleepwear, shoes and accessories that will be sold exclusively at JCPenney. Items in the Cosmopolitan Collection will run from $7 to $25 for bras and panties and up to $95 for shoes and boots. They'll be sold at more than 600 JCPenney stores and on its website.
Outgoing Cosmo editor in chief Kate White, along with fashion director Michelle McCool and editorial brand director Susan Schulz, were heavily involved in creating the line, but White won’t be around to keep tabs on the partnership; she just handed the reins to Marie Claire’s Joanna Coles after 14 years on the brand, effective Sept. 10.
Cosmo is the biggest-selling title on newsstands and has been aggressive in expanding to other media platforms and globally, with 65 editions now published around the world—but curiously, it hasn't had a fashion line until now. Cosmo can hope that its JCPenney partnership goes better than sibling title Esquire’s: the men’s lifestyle magazine launched a men’s e-commerce site with JCPenney last November, Cladmen.com, only to see it fold three months later by then-newly named CEO Ron Johnson, who had different plans to get the company on track.
Without question, the Cosmo move is part of a bigger trend among magazines to parlay their brand names into dollars via e-commerce, merchandising and other brand extensions, and Cosmo can sell more nighties at JCPenney, with its huge retail footprint, than a smaller boutique chain.
Still, JCPenney, with its scrubbed, mass-market image, and Cosmo, whose provocative covers have all but invited major retailers to slap shields on it, may seem like odd, er, bedfellows. Not that one has to look far to find an odd coupling of a media brand and a retailer (Martha Stewart and Kmart and Elle and Kohl's, anyone?)