JOU JOU BUILDS A DOLL HOUSE

Byline: Alice Welsh

NEW YORK--Fast and funky fashion is what Jou Jou had in mind when it opened Doll House, its new junior sportswear division.
While about half of the established Jou Jou junior sportswear line is produced overseas, Doll House is totally domestic.
"A domestic division gives the line a different thrust. You capture a different customer because you can zero in on the trendy, cutting-edge junior," said John Dransfield, the company's design director.
"Jou Jou is fun and trendy, but with imports, you have to plan everything so far in advance. Now we can do fun things when we want to, with about a six-week turnaround," he said.
Doll House focuses on synthetic and high tech fabrics with minimal decoration. "We didn't want the two lines competing with each other," said Dransfield. "In some cases, we will be selling to the same stores, but Doll House will focus on little boutiques more than department stores."
"We want to offer really hot fashion, but without burning a hole in the customer's pocket," said Nicole Murray, Doll House's designer, who came from Polo Ralph Lauren Corp., where she helped design men's sweaters. "There's a lot of Sixties, Seventies and thrift-shop inspiration."
Doll House wholesales from $8 to $25.
The line's logo, a high-heeled stiletto sandal, is embroidered on many of its styles, including a polyester polo shirt and T-shirt dress.
Doll House began previews in November and will be exhibited at the International Boutique Show in January with an "Alice in Wonderland meets George Jetson meets Pee Wee Herman's playhouse theme," said Murray. The line's first delivery is scheduled for Feb. 28. The company has made no first-year volume projections.
Stores that have written orders so far include Up Against the Wall, the Washington, D.C., area junior chain; Big Drop boutique in SoHo, and Bagatelle here.
Among the offerings is a black and white group dubbed "White Castle." It has an active sportswear look, but in soft feminine shapes. It includes a black vinyl wrap miniskirt for $16 wholesale, a mesh football jersey material skirt for $13 and gingham capri pants for $16. There's also a coordinating white or black polyester top for $7.
Another group, called "Rocket," is offered in such shades as banana, raspberry, mint, pink and baby blue. Styles include madras stretch cotton pedal pushers for $20, a matching bra top for $10, a Rocket-insignia T-shirt for $9 and a Rocket zipper jacket for $12.
Looks from the other groups include a skirt that looks like crinkled aluminum for $22, a silver jacket for $15 and a pink patent-leather-look jumper dress for $24.

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