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Manuel Brings In Industry Vets for Relaunch

Manuel, the New York-based ready-to-wear label, is relaunching with the help of three seasoned industry executives.

Manuel, the New York-based ready-to-wear label, is relaunching with the help of three seasoned industry executives.

Wilfredo Rosado, who spent almost 20 years at Giorgio Armani, is consulting on the label’s creative direction, including design. Marc Balet, founder of the Mixed Business advertising agency, will help to update the company’s image, and Linda Gaunt, principal of Linda Gaunt Communications, will head the communications effort.

For more than 50 years, the company’s namesake, Manuel Cuevas, has custom made women’s and men’s clothes for a wide range of notables including Dolly Parton, The Beatles, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. He also designs the Western collection. A team of designers will be working on the women’s designer collection, which will be sold at better specialty stores, Gaunt said.

The spring 2007 designer collection was too Western-inspired for the liking of specialty stores, so the company decided to sit out the fall 2007 season to refocus and develop a true designer collection.

The new executives are "real visionaries with deep experience, and we are thrilled to have them on board for the revitalization of this brand," said Manuel president Lon Weingart.

Their input should be evident when the company stages a presentation for a new designer collection Jan. 31 at the Bryant Park Hotel in New York. For spring 2007, the company showed a Western-inspired designer collection, but only select pieces were produced and sold to Western stores. The company produces two collections under the Manuel label — a designer line and a more casual collection for Western stores. A fall designer collection was not produced in order to refocus the women’s collection.

The designer collection will be sold at high-end specialty stores. Knitwear, dresses, outerwear and sportswear will be among the offerings, Gaunt said.

Weingart declined to comment on first-year projected wholesale volume.