Smells like Success

Collection sales in the ready-to-wear market rarely reach more than $50 million, but several brands bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues thanks to licenses, especially in fragrances and cosmetics. Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera and Diane Von Furstenberg all have made additions to their beauty businesses this year, as reported.

Diane Von Furstenberg Beauty will launch at retail this August with a 90-stockkeeping-unit assortment of color and fragrance licensed to Inter Parfums Inc. It marks Von Furstenberg’s return to the cosmetics industry after a 17-year absence.

The line will launch at Henri Bendel before being rolled out to 35 domestic doors, including select Barneys New York, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom units. Industry sources said the collection could add about $9 million in retail sales to Von Furstenberg’s overall volume, which is reportedly about $40 million. Other licenses include eyewear, swimwear and lingerie. The latter is expected to go nationwide at the beginning of 2004 — it’s been exclusive to Neiman Marcus since its launch late last year.

Von Furstenberg also will launch D, which contains citrus, floral and woody notes. Her second fragrance also will be named after a letter, but is not expected to be launched until 2005.

Carolina Herrera Ltd. will launch Carolina at retail in September. The new fragrance is inspired by Herrera’s original signature scent, but features fresher notes aimed at a younger clientele in the 25- to 40-year-old range.

Carolina, along with Herrera’s other five fragrances, is licensed to Puig USA. The new fragrance is expected to generate first-year volume between $8 million and $10 million and will be sold in about 300 doors in the U.S., including Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Marshall Field’s. According to industry estimates, the company will spend approximately $3 million on an advertising campaign accompanying the launch. Images will break in the September issue of Elle and the October issues of Vogue, W and Allure magazines.

The new competition joins Vera Wang and de la Renta in the ranks of rtw designers with growing beauty businesses.

Vertical LeapA number of dress and suit firms are expanding their businesses by opening their own stores. Though finding the right space at the right price can be difficult, many designers feel boutiques allow them to present their brand identity in its entirety, as well as try out new types of product without worrying about chargebacks and returns.

New York-based firm Luca Luca is expected to open its seventh store by the end of this year. The 1,500-square-foot space will be at the Galleria Mall in Houston. Current locations include two Madison Avenue boutiques, as well as sites in Chicago, Palm Beach and Bal Harbour in Florida, and at Highland Park Village in Dallas.

Since business is strong — the fall collection arrived in stores three weeks ago and is ahead of last year by 40 percent — Luca Luca plans to open two more stores in 2004. Though details on both locations are undecided, one store definitely will be on the West Coast, said a company spokeswoman.

In June, Nicole Miller opened two licensed stores in Memphis and Knoxville, Tenn., and signed an agreement to open a licensed boutique in Richmond, Va. That brings the company’s total number of stores to 31 globally, according to Bud Konheim, chief executive officer. Outside of the U.S., there are six licensed Nicole Miller boutiques in Japan.

“Location has to be right, that’s number one,” said Konheim. “Then the landlord has to understand realistic numbers.”

The brand also is working on a deal to open a shop-in-shop inside a new store in Harlem that the company is helping to develop. It’s expected to open early next year.

Diane Von Furstenberg currently has a shop in New York’s West Village and another at The Village at Merrick Park in Coral Gables, Fla., which opened in March. However, the designer has been looking for a location in either Paris or London for more than a year now and finally found the right spot in London’s Notting Hill neighborhood. It will be Von Furstenberg’s first overseas store and is slated to open in September.

Besides Von Furstenberg’s Florida store, other ready-to-wear brands that have opened boutiques this year include Reem Acra and Badgley Mischka.Reem Acra opened its first eveningwear and bridal store on 60th Street in Manhattan in March, while Badgley Mischka opened a 2,500-square-foot bridal boutique inside the Escada Fifth Avenue flagship in February. The brand opened a similar shop inside parent firm Escada’s San Francisco store in January.

However, Badgley Mischka is reportedly seeking a site for a New York boutique, which would be its second freestanding unit after Beverly Hills, which opened in September 2001.

Carolina Herrera, meanwhile, is expected to open its second shop-in-shop with Saks Fifth Avenue by the end of the year, as well as a second CH Carolina Herrera door in the U.S., possibly in Westchester County or Manhasset on Long Island. As reported, the first CH store in the U.S. opened in Coral Gables in October.

Channel Surfing

Oscar de la Renta and Marc Jacobs may be looking into launching better lines aimed at major department stores, but some smaller ready-to-wear designers are going straight to the consumer by creating collections for TV home shopping networks, including HSN and QVC.

London-based David Emanuel — best known for designing Princess Diana’s wedding gown in 1981 — will debut Collectables by David Emanuel on HSN in September. The line will sit at the upper end of the HSN price scale, with jackets between $120 and $250, in addition to skirts, pants and dresses.

New York-based eveningwear and bridal designer Stephen Yearick launched a 15-piece collection comprised of jackets, pants, skirts and daytime dresses between $30 and $90 in April on HSN, but plans to sell the fall collection beginning in August in a live segment.

In June, eveningwear designer Eric Gaskins launched a collection of day-to-evening separates on QVC called Jolie. It retails for $29 to $58 and features jackets, sweaters, blouses, pants, dresses and skirts.

Emanuel, Gaskins and Yearick join the ranks of designers and firms — including Bob Mackie, Louis Dell’Olio and Dennis Basso at QVC, and Randolph Duke, Harvé Benard and Sully Bonnelly at HSN — venturing downmarket with TV shopping networks.

It’s not just established designers getting into the mix. In August, Debra McGuire, a former stylist for the TV show “Friends,” will launch a career-oriented sportswear collection in addition to her jewelry line that launched in February. Another Hollywoodian, “JAG” actress Cindy Ambuehl, will join HSN as a women’s apparel designer in September with an eponymous sportswear collection of embellished denim and knit pants, skirts, tops, dusters, handbags and scarves.Well Suited

In what some retailers are calling a backlash to the casualization in the sportswear market, suits are expected to continue as a top performer at stores in the third and fourth quarters. So much so, that some department stores are increasing floor space devoted to the category and several sportswear vendors are jumping into the $3.6 billion field, with product entering stores for fall or spring.

“Sportswear has become as casual as it can be,” said Durand Guion, fashion director for women’s ready-to-wear at Macy’s West. “That makes the look of tailored clothing seem new and interesting. We have actually already seen an increase in tailored suit sales, so we are predicting it to be a huge trend for fall 2003.”

Lord & Taylor will up its floor space dedicated to suits in every store this fall, Lavelle Olexa, senior vice president of fashion merchandising, told WWD last month. Key vendors there include Kasper, Tahari Suit and Tahari Arthur S. Levine. Also for fall, the store will add Anne Klein’s suit line and a new private label line, Context, which will retail for $150 to $200.

On the vendor front, here’s a look at what some did to catch the suit wave:

Perry Ellis International Inc. signed a licensing agreement in May to produce a women’s suit line under the Perry Ellis and Perry Ellis Portfolio brands. The line will be produced by European Design Group Inc. and will launch for spring 2004.

Anne Klein’s first suit collection will hit retail stores this fall in 212 doors and Kasper ASL Ltd. has added its bridge-priced line Albert Nipon at Macy’s Herald Square, Macy’s West and Dayton Hudson department stores.

Italian outerwear firm Cinzia Rocca has added a suit collection. It will debut at retail this fall at stores including Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, L&T and Nordstrom. There will be 15 styles broken into three groups — luxury, evening and trend — with prices from $275 to $475.

In its second year, Elie Tahari and Arthur S. Levine are expecting to bring in sales of $150 million to $175 million with their Tahari Arthur S. Levine line, which launched last year.Meanwhile, the sale of the Kasper and Anne Klein brands could see a shift in market share in the category. As reported, Kellwood Co. has put in a $163 million bid for Kasper ASL, which is operating in bankruptcy and is up for sale. Jones Apparel Group is also said to be interested in the firm and the two venerable brands.

Kasper is a considerable opportunity for the interested parties, with sales of $358 million in 2002 and a 16 percent increase in licensing revenues to $17.7 million, with an income for the year of $6.4 million as compared with a loss of $75.5 million the year before.

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