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Rodriguez Shows Pull In $125K

SEATTLE — Bringing a pastel-hued sense of spring with him on an otherwise overcast few days, designer Narciso Rodriguez arrived at the Mario’s boutiques here and in Portland late last week to personally share his 2003 collection in trunk...

SEATTLE — Bringing a pastel-hued sense of spring with him on an otherwise overcast few days, designer Narciso Rodriguez arrived at the Mario’s boutiques here and in Portland late last week to personally share his 2003 collection in trunk shows.

“It’s the shape and attention to detail that appeals to our customer,” said Lynwood Holmberg, women’s department director at Mario’s, which has carried the designer for five years. “The Northwest is a place where high tech and high art are both important. So customers appreciate timeless beauty that isn’t overtly sexy.”

Narciso Rodriguez currently commands 25 percent of floor space in Mario’s stores in Portland and Seattle, and is growing at about 10 percent a year in revenue.

The designer had a similar take on why women tend to scoop up his collection from blouses to evening gowns, rather than cherry-picking for key pieces. “Women today are not so caught up in trendy crap,” he said, between sips of mineral water. “The entire message of this collection is pure, beautiful, considered aesthetic.”

Holmberg pointed out the range in customers, from a size 4 to a 12, and across the age gamut, who find something that works. “For the thin, his clothes give you curves and shape. And for the larger-sized customers — who are always asking us to find great clothes that fit them — Narciso’s clothing scales well because it’s tailored so carefully.”

The mood was chaotic in Seattle on Saturday, with customers grabbing up Rodriguez’ architecturally inspired pastel suits for spring, as well as lauding his clean lines and flattering tailored details, like weighted seams.

Holding Rodriguez by the arm, one grateful customer told him “I just want you to know how much I appreciate your fabrics.” She promptly ordered the $2,295 pink leather motorcycle jacket.

The trunk shows in both cities netted more than $125,000. Top-sellers included a three-quarter-length raincoat in cotton and nylon for $1,250, a white wool sleeveless dress with a blush flounce for $1,210, and a suit that consisted of three possible pieces — a $730 three-quarter-sleeve shirt jacket, a $435 skirt with a full-length zipper in the back, and a $775 printed cotton dress.

This story first appeared in the November 27, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.