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Claiborne, Kellwood Sign Deal

NEW YORK — Liz Claiborne Inc. has reached an agreement with Kellwood Co.’s Halmode division to license women’s dresses and suits, including special occasion, bridal, mother of the bride, and dresses with coordinating jackets, under...

NEW YORK — Liz Claiborne Inc. has reached an agreement with Kellwood Co.’s Halmode division to license women’s dresses and suits, including special occasion, bridal, mother of the bride, and dresses with coordinating jackets, under the Liz Claiborne, Liz Claiborne Woman and Liz Claiborne Petites brands.

The agreement will not include dresses sold as part of the Liz Claiborne collection, Lizsport, Lizwear, Liz & Co. and Liz Claiborne Woman sportswear lines. The current license with Leslie Fay Co. will end June 30.

The new Kellwood-produced line of dresses will be available in stores beginning this fall. The initial collection of suits will be in stores starting in spring 2004.

“Dresses and suits are an important segment of women’s apparel and Kellwood has shown considerable success in building this aspect of their business,” Barbara J. Friedman, president of licensing at Liz Claiborne Inc., said in a statement. “Our companies share a dedication to superior style, quality and value and we are confident that this new collection will please the Liz Claiborne consumer.”

Leslie Fay chief executive officer W. John Short said in the statement that the company would work with Liz Claiborne and Kellwood through the transition to ensure uninterrupted merchandise flow. Short said, “The transfer of this license to Kellwood will allow us to focus on developing and extending our proprietary brands.”

Denise Miller will lead the Liz Claiborne Dress and Suit division as president. Miller most recently was division head of Sag Harbor suits for Halmode. She reports to Jay Diamond, Halmode ceo, and Bea Myerson, Halmode president.