By  on July 17, 2007

David Rodriguez, the designer known for his red carpet-worthy styles, is betting that viewers of the Home Shopping Network will appreciate the clean elegance of his designs.

The move might have been riskier a few years ago, when HSN consumers were known to have a penchant for over-the-top embellishment. But upgrades in programming, graphics and product have attracted a fashion-savvy customer, network executives said.

As much as HSN wanted to add Rodriguez's name to its designer roster to further legitimize its fashion offerings, Rodriguez was eager to sell a collection he's calling Fleur via HSN.

"For us it's a way of being part of a much larger platform and getting our vision out there," said Rodriguez, who will introduce Fleur on Aug. 21 at 11 p.m. EST. "As a designer you always want to broaden your exposure. HSN goes into millions of homes. We do a lot of trunk shows. Being on HSN is like one big virtual trunk show but with millions of people. The message gets out there in one hour."

Rodriguez experienced the power of the moving image when a sweater he designed was worn by Anne Hathaway's character in "The Devil Wears Prada." "It was selling well before, but it's amazing how something can take off and run," he said. "We had to do several recuts on that item."

The designer underscored the fact that Fleur will be different from his signature collection, which is sold in specialty stores such as Richard's in Greenwich, Conn., and Hirshleifer's at the Americana Manhasset in Manhasset, N.Y. For one thing, there's the cost. Fleur's prices range from $29.90 for a sweater tank to $109.90 for a bouclé jacket with suede accents. A jacket from the signature collection can easily cost $1,800.

"They'll get something with the same spirit [as the main line]," Rodriguez said of Fleur. "With my signature business I get to work with the best fabrics in the world. With technology today, the mills are doing [great] things. You can hold a super expensive jersey next to one for HSN and be hard-pressed to tell the difference it looks so good."

Fleur will feature stretch fabrics such as jersey for jackets and pants and knits designed for day-into-eveningwear. Rodriguez will introduce his answer to the elastic waistband popularized by HSN. "Our flawless fit pant has an expandable waistband. We developed a technique where the elastic is encased but still expands."Rodriguez, who has designed fur coats and stoles using Persian lamb and fox in his signature line, created a fake fur vest and jacket with fake fur trim for Fleur.

"We did a lot of mixing with suede and fabric, which is a signature in my collection," he said. "There are embellishments, a combination of machine-stitching and hand-stitching. I'm not an over-the-top beading kind of person. I like things to be rich and beautiful. It's embellishment the way I like to do it."

Accessories and shoes are "a definite possibility," Rodriguez said. "We're doing a soft accessories line that's part of our main collection."

The designer sees no downside to selling on HSN. "The hallmark case is what happened to Halston," he said, referring to the late designer who created a lower-priced line for J.C. Penney and was booted out of Bergdorf Goodman. "That's changed so much. With all these large retailers bringing one-off projects with very visible designers, you can see there's such a great opportunity for everyone. You have to be careful that you approach it in a very strategic way. We're not flooding the market. As long as there's not a conflict with product and price point, there's room for everyone to play."

Rodriguez added: "It's going to really help my business through the visibility. Now my face and name will be in millions of households. It can't do anything but help."

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