HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL: Although the financial fallout from the pandemic has frayed many alliances, the bond between Talbots and Dress for Success is still going strong.

For its ninth annual partnership, Talbots is releasing the “Butterfly Charming Cardigan” Monday to help benefit the organization. Far from a Kafka-kind of “Metamorphosis,” the motif is meant to not just convey hope and transformation but also endurance and new beginnings. That sentiment is aligned with Dress for Success’ mission of helping women transform their lives at work and beyond.

Next week Talbots shoppers can find the vibrant $90 sweater, and a $100 plus-size style, online and in 388 of the retailer’s stores. From Monday to March 19, 30 percent of the net proceeds will benefit the nonprofit. In addition, from Monday until April 2, monetary donations will be accepted for DFS at Talbots freestanding stores and outlets.

Over the years, Talbots shoppers and the company’s 9,000 associates have pitched in to raise more than $9 million that has been put to use to support 250,000-plus women gaining economic independence. The 25-year-old organization’s efforts include providing professional attire, coaching and development tools to help women get up-and-running. As an added incentive for Talbots shoppers, a Shop for a Cause shopping party will be held March 11 at retail and online with customers receiving 25 percent discounts, and 10 percent of all net proceeds will go toward the organization.    

Talbots tapped a model who embodies female entrepreneurship — Karolina Kurkova — to sport the Butterfly Charming Cardigan for the Sycamore Partners-owned retailer’s new campaign. Her many pursuits include cofounding the health and beauty brand Gryph & Ivy Rose, and the model smiles in the photo that will run in Talbots March catalogue, as well as via its social media channels and in in-store displays. Photographer Walter Chin called the shots behind the camera.

After 75 years in business, Talbots has deep roots in its home state of Massachusetts, but the brand unearthed design inspiration for the cardigan at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. During a visit to the mammoth museum’s Butterfly Conservatory last year, several Talbots designers were enthralled by the experience of seeing the iridescence, varying hues and shapes of 500 butterflies and later reimagined them for the design. Apparently, 100 species can have that effect.

Butterflies are having a resurgence in fashion. Butterfly-inspired fabrics were featured on Prabal Gurung’s runway, and Ganni flaunts its double G butterfly-inspired logo. And Ukrainian designer Julia Paskal drew inspiration from butterflies for Paskal’s “Out of the Cocoon” show during London Fashion Week.

From Talbots’ viewpoint, the butterfly-adorned cardigan is “the perfect metaphor for what DFS stands for — hope, change, positivity and strength,” according to chief executive officer Lizanne Kindler.

Dress for Success Worldwide CEO Michele Meyer-Shipp noted that 50 percent of the women DFS serve live below the poverty level and the continuing global crisis “impacts women’s abilities to find jobs, advance in their careers and, in many cases, choose between work and home.” 

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