By  on November 17, 2005

NEW YORK — Karl Lagerfeld is offering a spring teaser of his new contemporary line.

A limited-edition spring capsule group from Karl Lagerfeld, which makes its official debut next fall, will be sold exclusively at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman beginning March 17. It consists of about 28 women's and 23 men's styles, with denim as a key component. Colors range from black and midnight blue to gray, slate and nude.

Ann Acierno, president of Karl Lagerfeld, said the early launch will help generate excitement and keep the momentum going until the fall line hits stores. That collection will be shown to editors and buyers on the runway during New York Fashion Week in February.

"We thought of Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman because they are terrific partners," she said. "Their customers exemplify the spirit of the brand."

The collection is inspired by the vitality of New York, where the studio is based and where Lagerfeld recently bought an apartment. The capsule collection includes five-pocket, low-rise, screen-print and laser-cut jeans, as well as denim jackets and vests. There also will be classic white woven shirts, retro-print T-shirts, tanks and silk georgette dresses.

Acierno wouldn't disclose wholesale price points, but suggested retail prices for women will range from $250 to $450 for jeans, $115 to $175 for T-shirts, $395 to $450 for jackets and $425 and $475 for dresses.

Neiman's will offer both women's and men's wear, while Bergdorf's will focus on women's.

The launch will coincide with Neiman Marcus' The HIP Event, a biannual initiative the upscale retailer uses to spotlight contemporary collections through special activities.

"We collaborated with Karl Lagerfeld because we were so excited about the opportunity to be able to launch a collection with the scope of Karl's talent and offer it at more accessible price points," said Ann Stordahl, executive vice president and general merchandise manager at Neiman Marcus, which will carry the line in all its stores, as well as through Neiman Marcus Direct. By mid-March, Neiman's will have 36 stores nationwide.

"I think that, with Karl's design talent and creativity, we will take the contemporary category to a whole new level, and we are so excited about the creativity he is bringing to the denim business," Stordahl said.At Bergdorf's, the collection will be sold on the fifth floor with lines such as Catherine Malandrino, Tracy Reese, Elie Tahari and Diane von Furstenberg.

"It's a very modern, clean and quintessentially Karl collection," said Bergdorf's Robert Burke, senior vice president of fashion and public relations. "It's more him than the houses he designs for, and it just looked very appealing."

Bergdorf's, which already sells Chanel, also picked up Fendi's ready-to-wear for spring. "Karl Lagerfeld is doing some of the best work he has ever done," Burke said.

Lagerfeld recently shot exclusive images of the line in his New York studio, which will be featured in Neiman's women's and men's books, Bergdorf Goodman's magazine and the stores' Web sites. The images also will appear in April issues of select national and regional magazines.

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