Has the merger of Seventh Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard finally happened?

In 2001,Jennifer Lopez launched a cloth- ing line and,ince then,everal entertainers announced that they also want to add the title of fashion designer to their résumés.In 2003, look for Gwen Stefani ’s tyle to come alive in her new line,Lamb,which he plans to launch with the help of tylist Andrea Leiberman,as well as collections from rap- pers Eve and Eminem.

It ’s nothing new in the men ’s wear category —the guys have been picking up duds from Sean John,Russell Simmons,Michael Jordan, Snoop Dogg and Nelly for quite ome time.But for the girls,the celebrity-as- designer concept is something rela- tively new and,hence,there is no evidence that these lines can sur- vive the test of time or quality. Will customers still pick up JLo gear if and when her celebrity status fades or Stefani ’s titches come apart at the seams?

Despite scuttlebutt that the JLo line isn ’t moving at retail, executives at Sweetface Fashions Co.,which produces the collection, said it has exceeded its revised annual volume of $65 million and plans for high-double-digit increases next year.While the company produces a ports- wear line,eyewear,swimwear and girl ’s wear, it ’s the fragrance,Glow by JLo,that is driving the business by taying in the top three posi- tion since its launch last ummer.

"The Jennifer Lopez fragrance has been spectacular and continues to be strong,"Jon Pollack,executive vice president and general merchandise manager of Belk ’s,told WWD earlier this month.JLo has "taken off like a rocket "since its early third-quarter launch,he said."These numbers are huge.It ’s universal in its appeal,[which is ]younger overall,but it ’s crossing over into all segments of ociety."

This is good news for the JLo brand —so good that the company plans to launch a vari- ety of licensed products next year to include footwear,accessories,intimate apparel,hats and a second fragrance.

Denise Seegal,president and chief execu- tive officer of Sweetface Fashions,said ales have been up considerably during the past 18 weeks,which most likely has to do with Lopez ’s consistent visibility in the media. She ’s been on the covers of everal magazines reaching a variety of audiences from In Style to Ladies ’Home Journal.Her movie,"Maid in Manhattan,"was number one at the box office its first week,raking in $19 million,her newest album,"This is me …Then,"remains on Billboard ’s top 10 and her media exposure has increased since she announced her engage- ment to People magazine ’s "Sexiest Man Alive,"Ben Affleck.So,J.Lo is on top,but other ingers hoping to launch lines next year might want to consider making some major headlines first,while not for- getting that the fashion flock can be unforgiving.

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