Diamonds to Blazers: Gatsby Mania Inspires Retailers

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Diamonds to Blazers: Gatsby Mania Inspires Retailers
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Source: The Great Gatsby | Warner Bros.

Inspired by the glitz and glamour of "The Great Gatsby's" 1920s backdrop (and hoping to capitalize on some free press), several retailers have launched collections to help consumers to live it up West Egg style.

Two of these retailers, high-end jewelry designer Tiffany (TIF) and Brooks Brothers, collaborated with the movie's costume designer Catherine Martin to outfit the actors. Both retailers went back to through their extensive archives to create items that resemble their own Jazz Age offerings.

"The film has seen an unprecedented level of marketing in advance of its release, which brings it into the consciousness of a very wide reach of customer," said Laura Pickard, a U.K. womenswear editor at WGSN, a trend forecasting firm. "It makes sense then for retailers to tap into this zeitgeist and jump on the potential huge success of the film.

Many of the pieces offered are on the pricier side. Brooks Brothers' 34-piece collection includes a $798 regatta blazer, $598 loafers and $395 cufflinks. The company created most of the 500 men's costumes featured in the film and adapted them to design the capsule line.

At Tiffany, Gatsby fans can snap up the headpiece Daisy Buchanan wears in the film and several other items appearing in the movie. The company also released a separate Ziegfeld collection, named for a famous Art Deco theater, that is based on Tiffany 1920s designs.

Ecommerce site Modcloth.com lists more than 120 items in its 1920s fashion section at a much lower price point and has purchased Google (GOOG) ads for several clothing search terms related to that era. At Fifth and Pacific's (FNP) Kate Spade brand, buyers can return more to the book's literary roots with a $265 Great Gatsby clutch.

Last seen a few years ago, the 1920s trend resonates in many products and has huge commercial appeal, Pickard said.

These Great Gatsy-themed collections are far from the only lines sparked by literary characters to be introduced in the past few years with Gap's (GPS) Banana Republic unit releasing "Mad Men"- and Tolstoy-inspired collections, Ralph Lauren's (RL) "Downton Abbey" line and H&M's "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" offerings.

But at what point does launching another literary-based collection approach overkill?

Not yet, Pickard said. As long as the collection is relevant and the product's right, "it will see commercial success, if only due to the level of exposure."

While success is not necessarily contingent on a blockbuster movie hit, it helps, she said.

"It will definitely help if the movie is a huge hit, but the 1920s era provides a great look and would probably see a level of success irrespective," she said. "Generally speaking, though, the success of these types of tie up are dependent on a level of consumer resonance to secure commercial success."

-By CNBC's Katie Little. Follow her @KatieLittle

Questions? Comments? Email us at consumernation@cnbc.com.



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