A key focus: revitalizing its lingerie business. The partnership with Macpherson was forged under Johnson's regime. But under the former Apple executive, Penney got rid of bra specialists and its store brand Ambrielle, a conservative line of lingerie. In February, Penney brought back the specialists and Ambrielle.
Also, more than 600 Penney stores will see their lingerie areas refreshed with new graphics and special fixtures.
Penney executives said Victoria's Secret benefited the most from Penney's woes when it came to lingerie sales.
"By offering the best brands, a greater level of service and an inspiring environment, J.C. Penney is making the necessary improvements to reclaim its market share," said Ivy Spargo, a senior vice president for Penney.
Macpherson's collection will be at the high end of Penney's offerings. Bras are priced anywhere from $40 to $49, while panties will be priced at $12 to $14.
Spargo says Penney shoppers will be able to relate to Macpherson outside of being a celebrity.
"She's a working mom. She's a business owner," she said.
Macpherson, who is based in London but travels around the world, says she's "passionate" about lingerie. It began in 1990 with her partnership with Bendon Limited Apparel, the same manufacturer that is producing the line for Penney. It marked one of the first examples of a model becoming a fashion brand.
Macpherson said she created her original collection back then because she saw a void between European-style lingerie and the comfort that American brands offered.
"As a model, I was constantly getting undressed," Macpherson added. "I wanted to make sure I looked good."