• DUARTE’S NEW DUDS: Henry Duarte, the leather and denim designer who spent more than a decade outfitting Metallica, the Smashing Pumpkins and other rockers, is singing a new tune with a women’s contemporary label called Duarte No. Q65. It is launching for fall with a palette concentrated in black and white. Cut from fabrics such as Japanese cotton gauze and boiled wool, the silhouettes take unconventional turns with drapes, asymmetric hems and ballooning volume in unlikely spots, like the area above the knee on cropped pants. Duarte’s signature leather jackets exhibit a capelike drape in the back or a curved panel on the chest. Wholesale prices run from $315 to $420 for the leather pieces, $62 to $80 for knit dresses and $80 to $112 for trousers. Duarte is teaming up with Jon Levine, chief executive officer of the fashion label, who said he aims to generate $2 million to $3 million in wholesale sales in the first year. The line started shipping last month to department stores such as Henri Bendel and Holt Renfrew, in addition to specialty shops including Intermix; Fred Segal Fun in Santa Monica, Calif.; Knit Wit in Philadelphia, and Searle in New York.

This story first appeared in the August 13, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.


• SEARS TO PAY PENALTY: The Consumer Product Safety Commission has reached an agreement with nine firms, including Sears Holdings Corp., to pay $355,000 in civil penalties for failing to report that children’s outerwear they sold had drawstrings. Children’s clothing with drawstrings at the neck are against CPSC regulations because of the danger of strangulation. Firms are required to inform the agency if they are selling any garments with them. Sears agreed to pay a civil penalty of $50,000, according to CPSC. Other firms named in the settlement agreements included A&R Knitwear Inc., AJ Blue LLC, Liberty Apparel Co., Cobmex Inc., Rebelette International Trading Corp., Siegfried & Parzival, Scope Imports and Vacation Clothing Exchange Inc., which does business as Basix USA.


• L.E.I. FOOTWEAR DEAL: Jones Apparel Group Inc. has broadened its L.E.I. franchise, making an exclusive licensing agreement with Steven Madden Ltd., which will design, manufacture and distribute junior and girls’ footwear under the L.E.I. brand. The footwear collection will be distributed exclusively to Wal-Mart stores, beginning in the spring.