By  on June 20, 2006

LOS ANGELES — Warner Bros. is banking on celebrity designer Nicky Hilton to help its Tweety property take flight at retail.

The studio today announced at the Licensing 2006 International show in New York plans for a long-term relationship with Hilton, who will create a variety of high-end apparel and accessories under the label Tweety Designed by Nicky Hilton to roll out exclusively in pop-up stores in key markets next spring before a multi-tier retail launch.

"We are trying to get away from character licensing and compete on a lifestyle level," said Brad Globe, president of Warner Bros. Consumer Products. "It has to be an integral part of our business now. While mass marketing will always be extremely important in generating revenue, it's not necessarily an effective way for some characters to execute in the fashion arena."

Enter Hilton, 22, who has proved her design mettle with her Chick by Nicky Hilton and Nicky Hilton Beverly Hills lines, as well as a collaboration with handbag company Samantha Thavasa, and with a new boutique hotel opening in Miami this summer.

"Her celebrity raises the profile of our brand and provides a segue into the fashion world," Globe said.

Hilton said the deal was a no-brainer.

"I couldn't refuse the opportunity to work with such a powerful company, plus I've grown up with this character. Tweety was actually my nickname when I was little," she said.

Hilton plans to design cashmeres, a luxe leather bag, shoes and T-shirts, hoodies and tank tops with "my take on the character." She confirmed that her designs will incorporate the image of the famous canary, as well as the signature yellow hue.

Two or three temporary stores will appear in various key districts such as Manhattan's SoHo or Robertson Boulevard in Los Angeles and will stay open for about six weeks.

"The point is to basically raise awareness and make it kind of exclusive for a short period of time. It's like, 'Come and get it now, otherwise it's gone,'" Hilton said. "I like that idea so you don't get sick of it. I'm all about one-offs."Warner Bros. declined to give sales projections for the new lines, but Globe said, "It's very small in a revenue sense, but in terms of importance it's disproportionately important. If you want to be cool and platform your property, you have to do these kinds of things."

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