NEW YORK--Robert Krugman, a Los Angeles-based maker of sportswear and dresses, has launched its first line of at-homewear under the Mary Krugman label. First-year sales projection for the at-homewear line, which aims for strong dual-purpose appeal, was revised to $1 million, double the original figure, following the reaction to the line's formal introduction at the August innerwear market, according to designers Robert and Mary Krugman. So far, the line has been ordered by 70 percent of the 1,000 established specialty store accounts that buy sportswear under the Robert Krugman label, said Robert Krugman. His wife, Mary, a former realtor, began testing several at-homewear styles in January in Los Angeles where the Krugman firm is based. "The collection is inspired by the late Bill Tice and many of his elegant at-homewear looks," said Mary Krugman. "I fell into this by accident," she said. "Robert was doing a trunk show at a store, and I lamented to a saleswoman that nobody does comfortable, pretty at-homewear any more. So I went home and sewed together some looks I used to like wearing by Tice." Krugman added that the line was also test-marketed at Dallas and Atlanta markets early this year. "We discovered that many specialty stores were interested in at-homewear as an item business. Retailers also liked the idea of merchandising some tops as beach coverups," she said. Lynne Birnbaum, an owner of Marisha, a sportswear and lingerie boutique in Jenkintown, Pa., noted, "We sell a lot of Robert Krugman casualwear, and Mary came through with these wonderful loungewear styles in fabrics that Robert uses in his sportswear." Birnbaum said her boutique "sold out" of coordinating textured cotton gauze and French terry tops and drawstring pants and loungers when the items were tested this spring. "There's a lack of great-looking loungewear in the market, and Mary does some great, basic styles," said Birnbaum. Judy Perry, owner of Intimate Apparel Inc., a lingerie and swimwear store in Lubbock, Tex., said, "Mary's line has a real contemporary attitude. I tested a few pieces this summer, and they sold very well. "The quality is superb and the fabrics are the best. Everything is washable, and that's important." Perry noted there is a "real niche to be filled right now with younger consumers, who haven't yet identified with the value and comfort of wearing at-homewear clothes." Fabrics for holiday include blends of rayon, cotton and Lycra spandex velour, and cotton and Lycra with a cashmere-like hand. In mid-September, a resort line will feature three cotton fabrics--French terry, French chenille and a textured gauze. Solid colors include pastels and brights. The line includes a variety of oversized tops and coordinating drawstring pants, long shifts and easy, zip-front loungers. Wholesale prices start at $49 and go to $89. Sizes are S, M, L and XL. She said one silhouette in particular has received a lot of attention--a long, zip-front turtleneck lounger with raglan sleeves. It is a style she described as "very Bill Tice." At-homewear by Mary Krugman is being shown at Linda Kraus & Co., a sales representative here at 202 West 40th St.
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