A NOUVEAU LINE FROM ABS

Byline: A.W.

NEW YORK--ABS USA, a bridge sportswear manufacturer based in Los Angeles, has launched a contemporary division called Nouveau for fall selling.
The first line will be shipped May 30, and will be priced about 20 to 30 percent below the bridge line. It will be geared for department and specialty store distribution.
Nouveau is item-driven, but can also be bought as a collection, said Lloyd Singer, president of ABS, who works in the company's offices here. "It will include some trendier and younger looks than the bridge line."
Nouveau is designed by Allen B. Schwartz, chief executive officer and design director of ABS, and Corrine Johnson. Both are designers for all the ABS divisions.
"We will sell the line to our existing department stores, but the line will appeal to a range of specialty stores as well," said Singer. Wholesale prices are $95 to $110 for jackets, $49 to $59 for skirts, $49 to $69 for pants and $39 to $66 for tops.
ABS was originally introduced as a contemporary line, but repositioned as a bridge resource four years ago.
"At the time we moved to bridge, contemporary wasn't the type of business we wanted to be in," said Singer. "It was more soft dressing. Today it has evolved into a category we want to go back into."
He noted that the contemporary category now has more diversity than it once did.
Singer expects the Nouveau collection to generate a wholesale volume between $15 million and $20 million in its first year.
Bloomingdale's has bought the line for its contemporary YES department.
"It has a lot of style and good value," said Kal Ruttenstein, Bloomingdale's senior vice president and fashion director. "It's right on target as far as fashion news is concerned, especially in a season without a lot of trends."
Nouveau, among other lines, is featured in Bloomingdale's 59th Street windows this week as a part of a Western, early fall kickoff theme, said Ruttenstein. Two styles, the satin jean and western shirt, were shipped early so they could be part of the presentation.
Other retailers that will carry the line include Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.
For May 30 delivery, Nouveau is showing a satin group that includes a jean jacket, tie-front top, jeans and a western-style shirt. For later delivery, there is a group in black synthetic leather with a lot of zipper treatments and a brown pinstriped men's wear group mixed with brown velvet and checks.

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