NEW YORK — Esprit is home.

The $1.1 billion company, which left the U.S. a few years ago, is coming back in a big way.

It will introduce a major print and outdoor ad campaign beginning in October issues of In Style and Elle. The concept of the new ads was conceived by Derong Yang, Esprit’s image director, who was recently transplanted from Hong Kong to the new company headquarters in Manhattan.

“For fall 2003, we are rediscovering our roots, going for a very simple, sincere, true and impactful campaign that’s real with real people,” he said. “We are hoping to reestablish our roots here and in many ways, this new campaign is more Esprit than in the past.”

The campaign will run in 14 countries, including the U.S., Malaysia, Canada, Germany, France, Austria, Finland and Denmark. Additional outdoor ads will run in London and Hong Kong.

“It’s a very contemporary-looking campaign,” he said, “which is the way we want to portray Esprit — quality, value, style for real people who want lifestyle clothes that will never go out of fashion.”

Esprit de Corp., which launched in San Francisco 35 years ago, sold its trademark rights in the U.S. and the Caribbean in early 2002 to Esprit Holdings Ltd., a Hong Kong-based, publicly traded firm. Much work has been done in the past year since Heinz Krogner, chief executive officer and chairman for Europe and ceo of Esprit International in New York, announced Esprit’s reentry into the U.S. market.

Plans are under way to launch more in-store boutiques in department stores and eventually open freestanding stores in the U.S., which will carry the entire collection, which now includes men’s wear, women’s wear, juniors’, children’s wear and accessories.

The company plans to spend $3.8 million on advertising worldwide.

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