By  on May 25, 2005

NEW YORK — Macy's East is trying to make some noise to elevate its fashion profile.

The retailer's image has often been muddled amid its mega sales promotions and consolidation activities, and even overshadowed by its sister divisions in the Federated Department Stores stable, Macy's West and Bloomingdale's.

During the last 12 months, Macy's has rolled out a national TV and print advertising campaign and rebuilt its fashion office, which was dissolved eight years ago. The office helps merchants and marketing and visual executives stay on top of the trends and track the styles and items that are selling best, and it shapes the mix on the store's selling floors and in the catalogues.

Macy's East is also launching some new fashion catalogues this fall, including one for cold weather accessories and another for contemporary sportswear, focusing on certain items and staging an aggressive denim campaign. The campaign aims to tell the world that Macy's sells more than just Levi's, and features brands selling for as much as $250. While Macy's does a big business with moderate denim lines such as Mudd, the company will promote more its "status" denim assortment with jeans like Earl; Paper, Denim and Cloth; Streets Ahead, and Frankie B. By comparison, Barneys New York goes as high as $300 in what it calls its "premium denim" assortment.

On Wednesday, Macy's plans its first full-fledged fashion preview for journalists at the Herald Square flagship store.

"We want to create a new level of awareness, for sure," said Nicole Fischelis, vice president and fashion director for ready-to-wear, who joined Macy's East last November after working at Saks Fifth Avenue and, more recently, at Salvatore Ferragamo.

"Sometimes, 'sale' overshadows a fashion message," said Martine Reardon, the store's executive vice president of marketing and sales promotion. "My role and the fashion office's role is to get a balance out there, and that involves balancing the promotional sales messaging with regular price. We always knew we had a good story. Now we are making an effort to tell it" more effectively.

Another Macy's official put it succinctly: "We believe we do not get enough editorial exposure in magazines."

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