By  on May 3, 2007

NEW YORK — Barbara Hodes, owner and designer of Bibelot, a five-year-old contemporary knit line, began her business when a "special" sweater meant embellishment with embroidery or beading. Today, a special sweater is so much more than that.

"It's really evolved to become more about fit, volume and shape, rather than embellishments," she said in an interview at the Susan Greenstadt showroom here at 215 West 40th Street, where her line is housed. "It's not about the decoration."

Bibelot sells in about 1,000 specialty doors nationwide, including Nordstrom and Henri Bendel. For fall, the line includes an array of new styles from a merino wool chunky cardigan to a simple fitted cashmere sweater. Hodes said that simple details, from small leather closures on wraps to oversize buttons on cardigans, sell well on her sweaters. The items wholesale from $60 to $160. Hodes said she expects to reach $3 million in retail sales by the end of the year.

Next up, Hodes is working on a new line she calls Fact Orie (pronounced factory). Launching for fall, the line is being created to work well with Bibelot, especially for layering pieces. It includes seamless cotton T-shirts and waffle-stitch tops for a lower price point, ranging from $16 to $48 wholesale. Hodes said she hopes to open more accounts with the new line.

"With this lower price, I think we can get into those stores that we just can't with Bibelot," she said. "The line will have a great fit and be very vintage lingerie-inspired with some novelty mixed in."

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