Like many executives in the industry, Haresh Tharani spends much of his time traveling the world seeking fashion inspiration. But he doesn’t find it only at fashion events and store windows.
“If there’s a trend that’s very important, you’ll see it at the airport,” said Tharani, whose new firm, Teekay LLC, is rolling out the Halston Jeans line for spring retailing.
One of the things he’s learned while waiting for planes is that Americans want to look good, but more importantly want to be comfortable. That’s one of the reasons that every piece in the new collection is made with stretch fabrics, in a size range of 4 to 16 that the company feels better reflects the typical woman shopper.
The collection, which will begin shipping to retailers on Feb. 28, includes jeans, skirts, knit and woven tops, and jackets, most in a wide array of colors, including green, pink, khaki and yellow, in addition to several washes of indigo denim, white and black.
Bonnie Stein, president of Halston Jeans, said in an interview at Tharani’s Manhattan offices last week that when development of the line began they intended to focus on denim, but were advised by retailers to offer a wider variety.
“When we started, we thought we’d begin with denim and then get into color,” she said. “But they told us to get into color first.”
Bradley Bayou, creative director of Halston LLC, said, “The color and the detail is the heart of the collection.”
An example of that level of detail is that on the colored jeans and denim skirts in the collection, the buttons and rivets are tinted to reflect the color of the fabric.
The collection is built around two main fits of jeans, called the Kansas City, a classic five-pocket style, and the Madison, which features more of a trouser-style cut and no rear pockets. Both styles are available in several denim washes, black and other colors.
Stein said the purpose of naming the fits was so that the customers could pick multiple styles of pants — full-length as well as cropped and capri styles — and know what fit to expect. In addition to the core jeans styles, the line includes fashion pieces, such as a style with multiple bands of stitching accenting the waist and cuffs, as well as several jeans with contrasting fabrics inside the cuffs, which are intended to be rolled up. The jeans use denims ranging in weight from 10 ounces to 13 ounces.Wholesale prices on the bottoms range from about $16 for basic styles to $20 for fashion items. On knit tops, they start at $8, with a recommended 60 percent markup. The color palette is broadest in the knit group, including a range of about a dozen pinks, greens and blues, as well as khaki and yellow.
The executives said a key knitwear item was the “color-block T,” with contrasting colors on the front and back and bias-cut side seams. Tharani said the variety is intended to make it easier for the better department stores at which he’s targeting the line to create distinctive assortments.
“If everyone keeps the core buy very similar, then the consumer doesn’t really have a selection,” he said. “The product here allows every retailer to merchandise their store correctly in different shares.”
The line will be produced in China, Hong Kong, Peru, Turkey and possibly Indonesia, Tharani said. He’s also considering selling the line overseas. Halston LLC owns the rights to the late designer’s name in 40 countries.
Tharani said the company expects sales to reach $10 million its first year out.
“We are in no rush. We want to do this in the way we do all our business, slowly, steadily and correctly,” he said. “We’d rather have an extremely low projection.”
James J. Ammeen, chief executive of Halston LLC, also called the projection conservative, saying, “The upside potential for Halston is, I think, limitless.”
Tharani also serves as chairman of Bill Blass Ltd. Prior to acquiring a stake in that company, he had been the designer’s longtime jeanswear licensee.
Overall, he said, the line’s goal is to offer a touch of contemporary style in realistic misses’ sizes.
“If you look at women in Hollywood, some are in their 50s and they look like they’re in their 20s,” Tharani said. “People see that and they want that attitude.”
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