NEW YORK —?In a move intended to bring the Halston brand name to the mainstream, the designer company has signed a licensing deal with a new firm owned by Haresh Tharani, the chairman of Bill Blass Ltd., for most categories of women’s sportswear.

The new firm, Teekay LLC, plans to roll out Halston Jeans, its first line under the deal, for spring retailing.

“We’re going to bring Halston to the American woman and the American male at a price point they can afford,” said Halston LLC chief executive officer James J. Ammeen, in a Friday interview. He added that the line would include a wide range of sizes, intended to reflect the shape of the typical American.

“We’ll bring this to women who are in plus sizes and maybe don’t get a chance at a high profile status brand,” he added.

In a separate interview, Tharani described the launch of Halston Jeans as only the first step in a broader campaign.

“What we have is the master license, covering most of women’s apparel. The jeans are certainly our first launching pad of the Halston ladies’ lifestyle,” he said. “Our next push is going to be ladies’ activewear and yogawear. That will probably be the next launch, for fall 2004.”

Ammeen added that he wanted denim to be the brand’s first extension because “it’s one of the largest product categories that there is.” He added that the agreement allows Tharani’s firm “to do some sublicensing.”

Bradley Bayou, Halston creative director, said in a statement, “I strongly believe that all women should be able to wear clothing with great style, clothing that is accessible, affordable and fits beautifully.”

Halston Jeans will be targeted at the better contemporary market segment, and the line will include woven tops and bottoms, as well as knitwear, in addition to jeans. The company plans to sell it through department and specialty stores.

In terms of the volume potential, Ammeen said, “This is going to be a significant business,” adding that he expected sales to be “north of $10 million at cost the first year.”In a statement, Halston LLC said it also plans to expand into categories outside of women’s sportswear, either producing them in-house or seeking out other licensees.

Tharani had been a key Bill Blass licensee, producing the Bill Blass Jeanswear line, prior to buying the designer’s company, along with ceo Michael Groveman.

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