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The Chosen Ones

BRIDAL: MORI LEE BRIDAL<br><br>For nearly 50 years Mori Lee Bridal has charmed retailers and brides with its focus on fashion, quality and value. Designed by Madeline Gardner, Mori Lee Bridal adroitly merges trends with tradition to create elegant,...

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BRIDAL: MORI LEE BRIDAL

For nearly 50 years Mori Lee Bridal has charmed retailers and brides with its focus on fashion, quality and value. Designed by Madeline Gardner, Mori Lee Bridal adroitly merges trends with tradition to create elegant, modern styles. The line’s name is an abbreviated take on that of company founder Morris Leibowitz, who originally wanted to name it after his wife Sarah. He soon discovered, however, that the brand name Sara Lee was already taken.

ACCESSORIES: ERIC JAVITS

Since selling a few styles on a whim to Bonwit Teller 25 years ago, Javits has become a force in the accessories industry with an annual volume of more than $5 million a year. His classic brimmed sunhats are sold at Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom. Seven years ago, he trademarked the Squishee fabric, a pliable synthetic straw that bounces back into shape.

CONTEMPORARY: SEVEN

Seven Jeans is number one when it comes to sexy, tight and low-slung jeans. The ultrahot denim line is a favorite of retailers as well as Hollywood celebs and tuned-in young women. The line is designed by Rebecca Danenberg and company owner Jerome Dahan. Sales volume is eclipsing $15 million this year, with no slowdown in sight. A Seven women’s collection is in the works, along with Seven Jeans for men.

SPECIAL OCCASION: CASADEI

Sportswear designer Casadei has turned up the glamour — and subsequently, sales — by focusing this year on slinky dresses and gowns accented with beading and lace. The response was so strong, that the company has launched eveningwear as a separate division for spring 2003 and introduced a new black label for the collection, which wholesales from about $300 to $400. “We’re at a point where Casadei believes in eveningwear and wants to get herself back to the level she was at in her heyday in the late Seventies and early Eighties,” said Steve Corvi, sales manager.

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