By  on January 27, 2005

NEW YORK — The wheels are in motion for Beyoncé’s new clothing line, The House of Deréon.

Beyoncé, along with her mother, Tina Knowles, said Wednesday they had signed a licensing agreement with Tarrant Apparel Group, a leading Los Angeles-based private label manufacturer, to produce a young contemporary sportswear collection for fall retailing. And it’s the first of several deals aimed at building Beyoncé’s house into a major brand

“I’m so excited,” said Beyoncé in an exclusive interview Wednesday with WWD. “My mother and I have been talking about this for years. We’ve been working so hard, and it’s finally coming together.”

In May, the Knowleses created Beyond Productions LLC with Jason and Arthur Rabin and Cory Silverstein of Wear Me Apparel/Kids Headquarters, which is based here. The licensing agreement with Tarrant was orchestrated by Beyond Productions.

“The collection is young contemporary,” Beyoncé said. “But it really appeals to any fashionable, trendy woman — any woman who loves to be sexy.”

Gerard Guez, chairman of Tarrant, predicted the sportswear collection for The House of Deréon would generate a wholesale volume of between $30 million and $50 million in its first year.

But the Tarrant deal is only the beginning. While sportswear is at the heart of The House of Deréon, consumers can expect to see a full range of merchandise rolling out over the next few years.

“For the 2005 calendar year, you can expect sportswear, outerwear, women’s bags and women’s shoes,” he said. “As we roll into 2006, we’ll get into lingerie and jewelry.”

Beyoncé also said she has hopes for a fashion show to launch the spring collection.

“We definitely are doing a show,” she said.

“For the spring collection, we’re planning a runway show,” Tina echoed. “It’ll be big.”

The House of Deréon is the latest celebrity line aimed at the runway. Sean John has been showing its men’s wear line in New York for several seasons and Jennifer Lopez will show in New York for the first time in February.Silverstein and the Rabins said they had originally met with the Knowleses a few years ago to discuss a possible children’s wear license with Destiny’s Child, the Grammy-winning trio and launchpad for Beyoncé’s solo career. As time passed, conversations shifted more toward developing Beyoncé’s own clothing line. The name, The House of Deréon, was announced last fall.

“In forming this joint venture with the Knowleses,” Silverstein said, “our function is to be the brand management company and to seek out the proper partners, category by category, to become a part of the team. We have the capability, because of our expertise in the marketplace, to brand build and deal with retail — all with a tremendous amount of leverage and strength. But we needed a partner. The nucleus of the brand is sportswear, and so we formed our venture for sportswear with Tarrant Apparel.”

The sportswear collection will include denim, retailing between $125 and $150, dresses between $150 and $200, and women’s suits retailing between $300 and $500. The collection will open within 400 to 500 doors nationwide, including top-level department stores and specialty boutiques. “Tarrant has major relationships with all the top-level retailers in the country,” said Silverstein.

A company spokesman said The House of Deréon collection will be produced in the Far East and will be housed in a showroom here, with the search for space under way. The collection will be shown to retailers during market week in March.

Guez said he was excited to work with Beyoncé and her mother. “First of all, I’m a fan,” he said. “Today, designers aren’t just designers, and singers aren’t just singers. Fashion really has permeated our whole space.”

Earlier this month, JS Brand Management, which holds the master license for the Jessica Simpson and Sweet Kisses brands, sublicensed the names to Tarrant for junior casual sportswear and denim.

“There’s a huge emergence today with celebrity brands,” said Guez.

Silverstein said he was aware of Tarrant’s licensing agreement with Simpson and felt good about it.

“It secures Tarrant’s position as a company that could potentially bring multiple celebrity brands to the marketplace,” Silverstein said. “I’m also comfortable with it because Simpson’s brand is applied to a different level of distribution than ours.”Beyoncé said her collection will be designed by herself, her mother, and Heather Thomson Shindler, former head designer for Sean John, then personal style consultant to Jennifer Lopez and her junior collection, JLo by Jennifer Lopez. Beyoncé said the collection is a perfect blend of her mother’s styling and her own.

She added that she didn’t want to name the collection after herself because she wanted it to be more about the fashion than about her.

“The line is named after my grandmother, so the line has a bit of fashion from my grandmother’s generation, as well as my mother’s and mine. We’re mixing vintage with the new. My mother has the best style. I grew up watching her design, and all around she’s just a stylish woman. Her style is a bit more sophisticated than mine.”

Beyoncé said she’s excited to wear the designs. “I would definitely wear The House of Deréon out on the red carpet,” she said.

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