NEW YORK -- Evan-Picone, which has been struggling with lost market share for the past several seasons, unveiled a new updated look under its new ownership with informal modeling at the company's showroom last week.

"It's geared to a classic customer between the ages of 30 and 70, but we're giving her some fashion," said Peter Lonergan, president of Evan-Picone, which has been acquired by Jones Apparel Group. Lonergan, who ran a private label company for the Kellwood Corp., came on board in November.

He noted that such fabrics as polyester and wool blends have been scrapped in favor of pure wool and wool tricotine. Replacing what he describes as the "convoluted overdesigned" looks is a cleaner style, like scallop collars and velvet trims.

"We are not going to chase every fashion trend that hits the scene, but rather we will focus on a few, like the kilt," he said. The kilts have been shortened to 21 inches, compared with the usual 25 inches, to give it a more updated look, company officials noted.

This fall's collection will start being shipped in mid-June to more than 50 accounts, including Macy's West, D.C.-based Woodward & Lothrop and the May Department Stores Co.

The collection ranges from office-friendly suits to more relaxed wool trousers, plaid kilts and sweaters. Other highlights are wool crepe hunter green pants, paisley jacquard vests, five-button wool riding jackets and wool flannel riding skirts.

Wholesale prices for the fall collection range from $80 to $85 for jackets, $36 to $45 for skirts, $31 to $38 for blouses and about $50 for pants. Lonergan added that the line is priced 15 percent below the Jones New York line, the flagship line at Jones, and has a roomier fit.

Lonergan, however, concedes that rebuilding the Evan-Picone brand remains a challenge, noting that a lot of stores have been snubbing the brand. Evan-Picone's sales had eroded to $100 million, compared with $150 million in sales three years ago.

"Merchandising was changed every year as well as price points," Lonergran said.

Company executives are hoping to regain lost sales within a two-year period, focusing on sportswear with plans to add suits and dresses eventually.

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