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DVF’s Imprint On LeSportsac

<CS:BOLD>NEW YORK -- Diane Von Furstenberg and LeSportsac are ready to unveil the fruits of their collaboration.<BR><BR>Last Wednesday, the dress designer and Tim Schifter, LeSportsac's president, met at the accessories firm's Fifth Avenue...

NEW YORK — Diane Von Furstenberg and LeSportsac are ready to unveil the fruits of their collaboration.

Last Wednesday, the dress designer and Tim Schifter, LeSportsac’s president, met at the accessories firm’s Fifth Avenue headquarters to assess first samples of the handbags, totes and cosmetics bags Von Furstenberg guest-designed.

Of her collaboration with LeSportsac, Von Furstenberg said, “We were similarly successful at the same time in the 1970s, and we are making a comeback at the same time. LeSportsac and DVF are about the same moment in fashion, a spirit of freedom, easiness, on-the-go. They are light and fun.”

In the past, Von Furstenberg sprinkled her collections with selected handbags to complement her dresses, but she had no complete handbag collection. “Clearly, the next step for me is accessories, so while I was thinking about that, Tim asked me to be a guest designer,” she said.

For Schifter, teaming up with the dress maven has special significance.

“Diane has such talent for prints, and our business is also driven by prints, so it seemed logical for us to come together,” he said.

The synergy has resulted in a group of handbags, totes and cosmetics bags with a geometric print of interlocking letter Ys. The duo dubbed the print “Y Knot.”

The line comes in two color combinations: camel, red, magenta and oyster on a black background and logo, and black, lime green, magenta and aqua with a chestnut background and logo. The print, which integrates the DVF logo, will also be featured on a dress of her fall collection, which hits the runway Sunday.

“I haven’t made any final styling decisions,” she said, glancing over to Schifter, whose raised eyebrow suggested he was lobbying for them to be included in the fall presentation.

For LeSportsac, this is the second run of its designer collection, which follows last fall’s collaboration with home accessories and furniture designer Jonathan Adler that hits stores nationwide this month. Called LeCute, that collaboration featured accessories from totes to handbags and travel bags plastered with whimsical words like LeFun, LeCharm, LeTasty and LeTotally.

Schifter projects the DVF line to generate retail sales of $7 million to $8 million this fall, with a planned distribution of about 250 doors, including LeSportsac stores, department stores and boutiques carrying Von Furstenberg’s ready-to-wear. It will launch in August, with retail prices from $40 to $75 for handbags and totes and $15 to $30 for small accessories, including cosmetics bags and shoulder-strap mini bags. An additional print is in the works for holiday, with delivery planned for November.

The line will also be featured in LeSportsac’s next campaign. The ads, scheduled to run in fall issues of W, Vogue, In Style and Elle, will be a continuation of the company’s current “Illustra” images featuring a mix of illustration and real life photography.

“The clothes are so light, you’d be surprised how many dresses I could put in these bags,” Von Furstenberg said, holding a travel-size bag. “It’s the shoes and vitamins that are troublesome.”