By  on February 13, 2008

DALLAS — Designer Carol Peretz has had a long love affair with eveningwear — 33 years, to be exact, and still going strong.

Her elegant dresses in silk and French lace are sewn in her own factory in Mineola, N.Y., and shipped with her namesake label to 60 specialty stores nationwide.

But something quite different also emerged from her workshop last year — sporty pieces in crinkled fabrics with asymmetric touches and an urban vibe.

"It's a funky look," said the designer, speaking at her corporate showroom at FashionCenterDallas. "I thought I had more to say as a designer than eveningwear. I wanted to do clothing that I didn't see in the market that was different and fun."

Peretz named the line Twisted and tagged it with a small orange label bearing only a jacquard pretzel. Ironically, the whimsical name bears no reference to the collection's offbeat style. It alludes to the designer's nickname, Pretzel, which was coined years ago by her pattern-making teacher at Parsons School of Design.

Twisted aims for a youthful, sophisticated customer with silhouettes that are body-conscious, but not girly. Like Peretz's evening collection, Twisted is made entirely of French and Italian fabrics. One summer dress, made of a single fabric, has a long stretch jacquard cloque bodice woven into a breezy lawn skirt.

"It's a couture fabric," said Peretz, who buys textiles from the same mill for her gowns.

Another look is an indigo crinkled denim cropped wrap jacket with orange seams over a drop-waist fitted skirt. For fall, Peretz is working on an "alternative jean," a soft stretch-denim trouser with a paper-bag waistline and top stitching. For fall, wholesale prices will run from $110 to $290.

Peretz thought Twisted would appeal to different stores than her dresses, but 15 of her evening accounts picked it up, including Kittie Kyle in Memphis and Miss Jackson's in Tulsa, Okla.

"I liked it because the fabrics and style were unique," said Rita Manzelmann, buyer at Miss Jackson's. "You see so much of the same thing in the market, and I think this is something special. I can see any age wearing it. I sell her gowns and cocktail dresses to all ages, too."

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