By  on March 11, 1994

NEW YORK -- It used to be an insult to say that something looked like a page out of a catalog.

Not anymore.

Saks Fifth Avenue is sinking major money into its direct-mail catalogs, and the results are apparent.

Saks' spring designer catalog, mailed this week to its "top-tier customers," is a quality print job and shoot.

It features 32 striking but simple photographs of such top models as Isabella Rossellini, Naomi Campbell and Meghan Douglas wearing looks from various designer collections.

The sophisticated approach is part of Saks' plan -- begun in 1990 -- to double its total Folio business to $110 million in five years, which is on schedule.

The catalog was shot by Mario Testino at his New York studio. Models posed against white wooden cubes that were used to create 32 backdrops -- designed by Lloyd Moore. The blocks were arranged to create columns, steps, platforms and walls.

There are no descriptions of the outfits, just one large photograph per page and the designer's name, discreetly printed on the side. Prices, listed in the back of the book, range from $630 for a Sonia Rykiel knit jumper and sweater to $6,880 for a Valentino gown. Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Gianni Versace, Ralph Lauren, Dolce & Gabbana, Anne Klein by Richard Tyler and Donna Karan are among those featured.

"It's the most expensive book we produce during the year," said a Saks spokeswoman, who declined to reveal the exact cost.

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