TIME OUT: Christian Lacroix has designed Swatch's Christmas Special 1994 watch, naming it "Xmas by Xian LaX." Lacroix becomes the first French couturier to design a Swatch watch, and the first fashion designer to create the traditional Christmas Special. Swatch will make 22,222 Lacroix watches and each will be numbered, bearing the designer's initials. The watch will retail in December for about $80 (100 Swiss francs), the same price as in previous seasons. Other designers who have created Swatch watches include Vivienne Westwood and Jean Charles de Castelbajac.

NOUVEL ESPACE: Et Vous, an upmarket French ready-to-wear label, opened two new flagship boutiques for its women's and men's lines on Paris' tony rue Royale, across the street from the Ralph Lauren store here. The neighboring stores have 10,000 square feet of selling space combined, with 3,300 square feet for storage and offices.
The firm was founded in 1988 by two brothers, Sylvain and William Chelly. It is one of the few French commercial brands that enjoys a solid business in North America, with clients like Bloomingdale's, Barneys, and Macy's, and specialty stores like Holt Renfrew in Canada. The product marketed there is produced in Asia, based on the French designs, with slight changes for fit, shape, and sometimes color. Bernard Aidan, president of the Et Vous licensed company in New York, said wholesale volume is about $20 million. The French parent company, which also operates throughout Europe, Japan and Hong Kong, had 1993 consolidated sales of $37.7 million (200 million francs).

DOCTOR'S ORDERS: Dr. Martens is taking more control over its destiny. Parent company R. Griggs Group has dissolved a joint venture with Red or Dead, which designed the Dr. Martens clothing and accessories line. These will now be designed in-house at Griggs, which retained designers Conrad Leach and Keith Stephenson, who worked on the line since it was launched. Griggs is also trying to develop licensing deals for the apparel line for non-U.K. markets. In the U.S., AirWair USA, a joint-venture between Griggs and London Underground Ltd., now has the license for the brand. AirWair became the main distributor for Dr. Martens footwear in the U.S. earlier this year.
These changes come as Griggs prepares to open an 8,000 square-foot Dr. Martens store in London next month.LIBERTY FOR ALL: Liberty, the British department store group, is rolling out private-label women's and men's wear to its 22 stores in the U.K. and plans to widen the collection in the future. Previously, a small private-label collection was available only at Liberty's branches outside London. The collection, sold under the Liberty label, includes jackets from $150 (95 pounds); knitwear from $55; and, shirts from $55, a spokeswoman said. The line uses Liberty's floral fabrics only where appropriate, she said, adding that the line is made in Europe and the Far East. She described the line as "classics with a twist," saying that it is priced above that of competitors Marks & Spencer, Oasis and Jigsaw.

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