FLORA RETURNS: While all the hoopla was going on at the Bryant Park tents this month, Flora Kung made a quiet return to the fashion world.
Speaking from her salon in La Hauteville, 30 miles outside Paris, Kung said that after seven years enjoying the splendors of Ketchum, Idaho, and starting a family, she was "inspired to be a designer/mother."
Kung, who kept up her design skills by painting and doing porcelain sculptures, began showing her new ready-to-wear line at New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and at her salon in France. A New York showroom opened last week at 214 West 39th St., and Kung said she'll show at hotels in Paris and hopes to be part of the rtw shows there next season.
The collection wholesales for $140 to $500. Kung projects first-year sales of about $2 million.

AUGUST SILK DRESSES UP: Ensembles and dresses keep making news on runways and at retail, and to get a piece of the action, August Silk is rolling out a dress division for spring. As part of its efforts to diversify, the giant sportswear maker, known for silk knit separates, expects to open a suit division next fall.
Several dresses were tested in June and performed well, said Lou Breuning, vice president of sales, leading to a full line of casual and career dresses, ensembles and pantsuits in silk and silk blends.
Jack Weinstock, president, claimed there's an "untapped opportunity" in silk because it is well-priced and easy-care. He projected sales of $15 million for the division's first year.
Ellen Dawson, corporate merchandise director, said key looks include a "hybrid dress," combining a cotton knit top with a woven silk or silk-blend skirt, and a group of printed dresses, wholesaling for $49 to $59. Ensemble dressing includes fully lined jackets over tank or A-line dresses, sheaths, pantsuits and three-piece outfits, wholesaling for up to $99.
August Silk, a unit of Pacific Silk & Clothing Co., is vertical, producing its own fabrics and apparel in China. Sales topped $200 million last year.

FUR FIRST: The Greater New York Fur Association, a nonprofit organization, kicked off its first outdoor ad campaign this month.
The ads, which feature a woman wearing a fur coat with the tag line, "Fur. Some Women Never Fake It," broke on bus shelters in Manhattan. Princeton Partners Inc., an advertising, marketing and public relations firm in Princeton, N.J., designed the campaign.
Next month, billboards will be unveiled. Posters and T-shirts playing up the campaign's theme will be sold to raise money for Tomorrow's Children Fund, which supports the pediatric cancer facility at the Hackensack Medical Center in Hackensack, N.J.CHICAGO SALUTES GIVENCHY: The Chicago Historical Society will celebrate Hubert de Givenchy's 45-year couture career with an exhibit of its extensive collection of his designs.
"Givenchy" opens Saturday and runs through March 10 in the CHS Costume Alcoves. It offers an overview on Givenchy's contributions and career, including his introduction of the chemise or sack silhouette in 1957 and the pieces he designed that were worn by Audrey Hepburn in the movies "Sabrina," "Funny Face" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's."
The couturier donated an evening ensemble from his fall 1992 collection to the exhibition. Although the label will continue, Givenchy presented his final collection last month in Paris.

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