Lucy Sykes Rellie is inspired to launch a children's line each time she has a baby.
Her high-end children's line was created when she had her first son, Heathcliff, three and a half years ago. Six weeks ago she had her second child, Titus, and is launching a lower-priced girls' line for spring 2008.
"Your second child comes along, and you can't afford such expensive clothes," Sykes Rellie joked.
Lucy Sykes New York is hardly low-priced, but it is more affordable than the exclusive Lucy Sykes Collection, which wholesales for $180 to $200 in limited distribution at select Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman and specialty stores. The new line, wholesaling for $35 to $125, is targeted to better department stores like Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's and all Saks Fifth Avenue locales.
Sykes Rellie, a contributing editor at Cookie magazine (like WWD, owned by Condé Nast Publications), is in partnership with children's wear manufacturer Baby Togs Inc. on the new line. The $280 million manufacturer, based in New York, saw Sykes Rellie as its ticket into better-priced distribution. And the socialite-turned-designer viewed the firm as her vehicle to off-load production and manufacturing duties so she can concentrate on design in her studio, which is two floors below the West Village apartment in Manhattan that she shares with husband and business partner Euan Rellie.
"Lucy's been shipping her collection out of her apartment, and she does not want to be on the telephone at midnight with China talking about what button she wants on a garment," Baby Togs president Stephen Budd said. "Lucy is a press machine, and her design aesthetic is incredible. We want to make her the Martha Stewart of the better children's world."
Budd projects wholesale volume of the line will be $5 million to $10 million the first year. It will launch in girls' infant sizes plus 2 to 6x. They plan to add sizes 7 to 16, plus boys, for fall 2008.
"This has let me be so creative because I am not worrying about the production and the money — it's lifted something from me and given me such a second wind," Sykes Rellie said. "It's fun, creative, and you can do more and reach a wider audience."The line will keep Sykes Rellie's self-described "American-Euro sensibility," and she will retain "100 percent creative control as creative director and designer," she said, adding that she is in talks concerning "beauty for mommies after she's had the baby and children."
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