ESCADA TAKES CENTER STAGE

Byline: Janet Ozzard and Agnes Cammock

NEW YORK--Lights, camera, sportswear action.
That was the scene in NBC's Studio 8-H Wednesday night, when Escada USA showcased its three bridge lines: Nic Janik, Apriori and Laurel.
Three stages were set up in the studio, each featuring a story line and key looks from the collections, modeled by actors and actresses from the Lee Strasberg school.
In the first vignette, "Casting Call," young women in Laurel's brightly colored classic suits clamored for a director's attention. The second, "Hair and Makeup," featured actresses--in Apriori's sporty motorcycle jackets, fun belted trenches and form-fitting knit trousers--being combed and primped for their big moment.
The final stage was a movie set with starlets clad in young designer Nic Janik's sexy mohair sweaters, printed knee-length skirts and bright fake fur blazer.
Ron Frasch, president and chief executive officer of Escada USA, said the event was meant both to draw attention to the bridge lines, and to present them to retailers without the showroom pressure to buy.
"We do so much for Escada's designer line," he said, "but we don't do enough for bridge. This is a way to bring in people who may not know us as a bridge resource, but without having them feel like there's a gun to their heads."
"I love it," said Lynne Ronon, vice president and divisional merchandise manager for casual sportswear atSaks Fifth Avenue, which carries all three lines. "You can see the clothes, and it gives the lines a little excitement."

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