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Anne Klein Returning To Japan With Takihyo

NEW YORK — If Anne Klein’s up-to-date SoHo boutique was the seed representing the company’s new image, then the expanded licensing agreement with Japan’s Takihyo Company Ltd. is its first blossom.<br><br>Anne Klein’s...

NEW YORK — If Anne Klein’s up-to-date SoHo boutique was the seed representing the company’s new image, then the expanded licensing agreement with Japan’s Takihyo Company Ltd. is its first blossom.

Anne Klein’s parent, Kasper ASL, said Nagoya, Japan-based Takihyo will hold the license in that country for the next 10 years, furthering Anne Klein’s efforts to be recognized as a global fashion powerhouse. In the deal, Takihyo — Anne Klein’s former owner — will distribute women’s apparel, handbags, belts and small leather goods, gloves, scarves, sleepwear, footwear, socks, jewelry and hand towels under the Anne Klein New York and AK Anne Klein labels.

“Our new agreement is a significant component in our commitment to grow the Anne Klein brand globally,” said John Idol, Kasper’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Japan is an important market for us and we intend to build the Anne Klein brands to be one of the most important designer labels throughout Japan. Takihyo has been a partner with us for 30 years and the renewal of our agreement reflects our mutual belief in each company’s ability to accomplish this new expansion.”

While clothing sizes may differ for the Japanese, apparel designs will remain unchanged and will continue to come from the New York headquarters of Anne Klein. Additionally, all existing shop-in-shops — currently, there are more than 100 — in Japanese department stores such as Isetan, Hankyu and Mitsukoshi, will be renovated to match the image of the SoHo boutique.

As reported, the first Anne Klein New York flagship opened in February, after the company hired Charles Nolan last year as senior vice president of design to revamp the brand’s image. Besides the shop-in-shop renovations, freestanding stores are planned, with the first store expected to open in fall 2003. An Anne Klein spokeswoman said details are yet to be determined.

A more aggressive marketing and advertising program for Japan is also part of the agreement. The current U.S. and European campaigns with Bridget Hall will run in Japanese magazines in August, most notably a six-page gatefold in Vogue Japan.

Prior to Anne Klein’s acquisition by Kasper in 1999, Takihyo was the company’s owner since 1973. After Takihyo sold it to Kasper, it stayed on board as the company’s Japanese license. When it came time to renew its license this year, the companies expanded the current agreement. A spokeswoman for Anne Klein declined to give figures for the deal.

Anne Klein has also signed long-term regional licensing deals in the past year with Sung Chang InterFashion in Korea and Piccadilly Center S.A. in Latin America.