NEW YORK — Eddie Bauer has big plans for the holidays.
The Redmond, Wash.-based casual apparel firm is on its own and eager to flourish. Eddie Bauer became a stand-alone company after its former parent, Spiegel Inc., emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy on June 21. According to a spokeswoman at the firm, Eddie Bauer has begun the process of registering with the Securities and Exchange Commission to become a public company on its own.
While those applications are being considered, Eddie Bauer is stirring up some big holiday plans. On Oct. 20, it will open a temporary boutique specializing in down outerwear and other products on the concourse level of Rockefeller Center here. The 1,100-square-foot space will offer a special collection of Eddie Bauer merchandise, all made of down. There will be traditional down jackets for women, men, children and pets, as well as a collection of accessories from handbags to scarves to iPod cases.
"I was told I could create anything I wanted with down for this project," said Stephen Cirona, Eddie Bauer's vice president of design. "Whatever we could do with it, we did."
Cirona said he joined the company a year ago specifically because of the company's heritage. He worked at Tommy Hilfiger from 1996 to 2001, rising from vice president, creative, to executive vice president, men's global creative director. Prior to joining Eddie Bauer, Cirona was president and principal director of Stephen Cirona New York Inc., where he created custom clothing for celebrities including Harry Connick Jr. and Alan Cumming.
Started by Eddie Bauer himself in 1920 in Seattle, the company patented the quilted down jacket, which became its signature item. Over the past few years, the company has had many fits and starts, and has pared down its retail operation. Financial sources have estimated Bauer's retail, catalogue and online businesses generate about $1.25 billion in annual sales.
"The heritage of this company just blew me away," said Cirona. "Eddie invented the down jacket and his invention has had this lasting effect on American sportswear. So I knew I wanted to be a part of this."
Cirona said the new boutique will introduce the brand in a modern way, while still capitalizing on the item that started it all.
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