By  on February 28, 1994

NEW YORK -- Saks Fifth Avenue, which officially launched DKNY Petites at the flagship here Thursday, sold $75,000 worth of merchandise for the three-day period through Saturday, said a Saks spokeswoman.

About 200 people turned out for a runway presentation and panel discussion Thursday evening. They filled all the folding chairs set up for the event and packed themselves into all available space in the petite area on the seventh floor to watch a runway show featuring 92 pieces of the spring line.

During the show, three panelists, including DKNY president Denise Seegal, wearing one of the line's top sellers -- a navy admiral jacket -- discussed how they would wear the outfits.

The other two panelists were petite customers, Jennifer DeMarco, a lawyer, and Lillian Wang, senior market editor at Elle magazine. They fielded questions from customers and gave three different perspectives -- based on their professional and personal lives -- on how an outfit could be worn, from hosiery to skirt length.

The line, which arrived two weeks ago and is housed in a 600-square-foot-space, had a 25 percent sell-through this past week, according to Scott Schramm, buyer for petite sportswear at Saks. "Sales have exceeded our expectations from day one without any advertising," said Sally Pearson, senior vice president at Saks.

"I have the most impossible time finding anything to fit me," said petite customer Cielo Cerezo, a financial analyst who came to see the launch. "I like the line a lot," she said. "It's my style -- practical things and suits I can wear to the office."

Best-selling items since the launch included the wool crepe admiral's jacket in navy with gold stripes at $445 and a wool sleeveless apron dress also in navy priced at $225.

Key sellers following the show included a wool navy crewneck jacket tagged at $425, a wool crepe short pleated skirt in navy priced at $135, a black cotton and Lycra spandex bodysuit at $55 and a navy and rayon wool knit vest for $115. Customers could also special-order merchandise from upcoming shipments.

The petite division makes up 30 percent of the DKNY collection and 10 percent of DKNY Jeans.Asked whether a plus-size line would be next on the agenda, Seegal replied, "Not yet, although it could evolve over the years."

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