NEW YORK — Following the holiday resort collection, Pamela Dennis Evening will be no longer.
The joint venture between Kay Unger and the Leiber Group, which sought to produce bridge-priced eveningwear, didn’t turn out to be the performer that executives at Phoebe Co. thought it would be, according to Rob Feinberg, president of Pheobe, Kay Unger’s parent company. So they’re pulling the plug.
Citing the unforeseen consequences of Sept. 11, which took place just after the line’s launch, Feinberg said Pamela Dennis Evening only generated sales of about $4 million.
"We would have liked to have been over 6 [million]," Feinberg said. "To be perfectly honest, the clothes have sold well, but we wanted a larger-volume business. The bottom line is that the business wasn’t generating."
Phoebe’s answer to a volume-driven business could be Unger, Kay Unger’s daytime dress and sportswear line that bowed at retail this fall and booked in excess of $2 million with its launch.
Six people involved in the production of Pamela Dennis Evening will now work for Unger, Feinberg said. The evening line’s designer, Seung Hee Oh, and a salesperson were let go.
The $40 million company also produces Phoebe, a younger-skewing collection of prom and bridesmaid dresses, and the Kay Unger line of sportswear, suits and evening gowns.
But the halting of Pamela Dennis Evening harks back to an older saga between designer Pamela Dennis and her fallout with former backer Pegasus Apparel Group, now known as the Leiber Group. Dennis abruptly left the Leiber Group in March 2001 when she got word that her backer would turn its attention away from her signature collection for the lower-priced joint venture.
When WWD reached Dennis by phone Wednesday, the designer said she had heard rumors the line was going under.
"You made my day," Dennis said. "They were regurgitating my old patterns with inferior fabrics and it was embarrassing. It’s nice to know the impostor won’t be out there anymore."
Dennis also said she is launching a collection in February, though its name is yet to be determined.
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