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IN THE MIDDLE

QUITE A DOLL: The plus-sized model Emme, who is also host of E's "Fashion Emergency," is out to challenge Barbie. She has become the inspiration for the Emme Doll, being touted as the first full-figured fashion doll.<P>Bowing at FAO Schwartz stores...

QUITE A DOLL: The plus-sized model Emme, who is also host of E’s “Fashion Emergency,” is out to challenge Barbie. She has become the inspiration for the Emme Doll, being touted as the first full-figured fashion doll.

This story first appeared in the July 3, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Bowing at FAO Schwartz stores this October, the doll will have a full wardrobe to fit any occasion — pleather jackets and dressy denim pants, sequined camisoles and fur-trimmed sweater coats. But, always ready for a dressy affair, the doll will come decked out in a black cocktail dress and platform heels.

The Emme Doll, designed by doll guru Robert Tonner and made by the Tonner Doll Co., will retail for $99.99 to $124.99, depending on the outfit its sporting, and the apparel will sell separately for $39.99 to $44.99. First year sales are expected to reach 1.6 million.

VIRTUALLY SHOWING: If a Seventh Avenue showroom is out of the question, a virtual showroom might be just as effective for fledgling young designers.

Bel Esprit, an Internet-based showroom, is seeking better- to designer-priced companies to sponsor — for free — on their Web site for one year. The agreement would also provide the chosen companies, who have been in business for longer than three years, with related promotional services — such as e-mails and newsletters sent to retailers — at no additional cost. “New designers may not have the resources to fully market their line in a competitive industry,” said Bel Esprit director Debora Pokallus. “Our company is now in a position to financially help newer designers launch their lines.” Details regarding the program for new designers are available at belesprit.net.