By  on April 28, 1994

NEW YORK -- Innerwear designer Flora Nikrooz is getting on the at-homewear bandwagon.

Known for her daywear and sleepwear, Nikrooz introduced her at-homewear with a dozen styles at the March market and has expanded the group to 27 numbers for the holiday market in May.

Nikrooz is president and designer of her own 17-year-old firm, Flora Nikrooz Designs.

The at-homewear category -- emphasizing dual-purpose looks -- has been getting a lot of attention from retailers over the past year. Nikrooz, a former dress designer, said she tested the idea of at-homewear a year ago with a long American Indian-pattern blanket robe of acrylic that looked like outerwear. She said she was soon doing robe exclusives for Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.

Marvin Backer, Nikrooz's husband and vice president and co-owner of the company, projected a first-year volume of $1 million for the at-homewear. He noted that 50 percent of anticipated fall orders have already been placed.

The at-homewear looks focus on easy silhouettes like elongated tunics and vests, wide-leg pants, long Empire dresses, zip-front loungers, and long and short wrap robes that have an outerwear flavor.

Imported fabrics include textured double-faced wool blend knits, rayon velvet and rayon faille, chiffons and charmeuse of polyester, and crinkle polyester. Special treatments, which are done domestically, consist of embroidered buttons and crochet-look laces, beading, fringes and soutache.

Colors are black, gold, bronze, bottle green, purple, burgundy and ecru. Wholesale prices start at $150 for blanket robes and go to $450 for double-faced long knit robes.

The at-homewear will add to an upward sales curve at the firm. According to Backer, Nikrooz Designs had a 20 percent sales gain in 1993 to reach $6 million.

He attributed the increase to expanded distribution overseas, which grew 25 percent over the past year and accounts for 30 percent of total business. He forecast another 20 percent increase for 1994, excluding the at-homewear.

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