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Newsreel: New Liz Board Member… Zimmerman Returns To Dry Land… Emma & Posh…

Kenneth B. Gilman has been elected to Liz Claiborne Inc.'s board, bringing the number of directors to 10.

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NEW LIZ BOARD MEMBER: Kenneth B. Gilman has been elected to Liz Claiborne Inc.’s board, bringing the number of directors to 10. Paul E. Tierney Jr., who had served on Claiborne’s board since 1995, stepped down this month. Gilman’s initial term will expire at the company’s May 15 annual meeting, when he will be up for reelection for a three-year term. Gilman spent more than 25 years at Limited Brands Inc., rising to vice chairman and chief administrative officer of Limited from 1993 to 2001. He was then moved over to Lane Bryant as chief executive officer to prepare the division for its eventual sale to Charming Shoppes Inc. After Limited Brands, Gilman was president and ceo of Asbury Automotive Group until his retirement in May.

ZIMMERMAN RETURNS TO DRY LAND: Australian line Zimmerman has sold its swimwear in the U.S. for a decade, and this spring it’s bringing contemporary sportswear stateside, as well. The collection launching here will be the same one the 15-year-old brand shows domestically, but will be edited to sell about 60 rather than 120 looks of the line, which is known for its prints and color. “We are adding three more stores in Australia by the end of the year, then we are focusing on the American market because we think we can do really well here,” said designer Nicky Zimmerman. “The clothing we do with swimwear is not just caftans and usual swim cover-ups, it’s real resortwear and retailers were asking us what else we do as clothing.” The line wholesales from $110 to $400, and like the swim line, the sportswear is being carried in about 50 doors, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York and Intermix. The company, which does not disclose its volume, does half its business at wholesale, and a quarter of its wholesale in the U.S. — though Zimmerman expects its U.S. business will double this year and is considering opening retail stores here.

EMMA & POSH: Alison Pnini traded in an eight-year career in the sweater business, where she worked as the designer of junior knit line Say What, to raise her daughter Emma. But Pnini quickly found as a new mom that she missed working and wanted to fill what she saw as a market void for cashmere with feminine details. “I wanted to put my experience into a line that fit my vision and my eye,” Pnini said. “I use a lot of detail in the seams and buttons and feminine extras like ruching.” So she went back to work to create Emma & Posh, a contemporary cashmere collection that had a soft launch for holiday and will officially launch for fall 2008. The line of 100 percent cashmere sweaters — from tight dresses to cropped cardigans — wholesales from $86 to $184 and is carried in 240 doors, including Henri Bendel, Searle, Olive & Bette’s and Fred Segal.


COLUMBIA OFFERS UV PROTECTION: Columbia Sportswear Co. and The Skin Cancer Foundation have joined to introduce a new Omni-Shade sun protective apparel line. Columbia is the first global company to receive The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation. Launching for March, the Omni-Shade apparel line includes more than 100 products for women, men and children. The clothes, which retail from $45 to $75, offer protection ranging from UPF 15 to UPF 50, and many are also pretreated with ultraviolet inhibiting ingredients. “Our products at Columbia Sportswear are synonymous with weather protection,” said Tim Boyle, president and chief executive officer. “We are proud to enhance our Omni-Shade line for our consumers, allowing them to spend more time enjoying outdoor activities, while remaining protected from the sun’s harmful rays.”

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