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Adrianna Papell Enters Sportswear

The New York-based company has hired Michael Smaldone, whose last post was with Talbots, as senior vice president and creative director.

After 30 years of specializing in dresses, Adrianna Papell is delving into better sportswear and footwear.

The New York-based company has hired Michael Smaldone as senior vice president and creative director. He will oversee the design of the sportswear, which is having a soft launch at retail this fall. Smaldone’s last post was with Talbots, where he helped to redefine the brand as chief creative director.

During a phone interview Friday, Smaldone said he was motivated by Adrianna Papell’s “untapped potential especially with such a loyal customer base. It feels like we’re building something from the ground up but it also already has a lot of strong roots that are already in place.”

Designed to compete with labels such as Michael Michael Kors and T Tahari, Adrianna Papell sportswear will have “beautiful shapes, great fabrics and modern silhouettes,” Smaldone said.

The Adrianna Papell label is carried at about 1,250 doors worldwide including Lord & Taylor and Bloomingdale’s. Chief operating officer Adam Berkman said part of the impetus to expand into more of a lifestyle collection was prompted by Adrianna Papell’s expansion internationally. Stores abroad are more inclined to showcase brands rather than categories, he said. In the next 12 months, the brand’s sportswear should generate $10 million in wholesale volume, he said. Twenty-plus styles will be shipped each month with wholesale prices ranging from $25 for a knit top to $80 for a jacket.

On another front, Adrianna Papell has teamed with The Silverstein Co. to introduce footwear for the first time. Berkman is confident that the footwear maker’s founder Scott Silverstein, the former owner of Nina shoes, will help make Adrianna Papell footwear a $25 million to $50 million business in the next five years. First-year projected wholesale volume is $3 million to $5 million. There are also plans to introduce shoes for evening down-the-road.

The Adrianna Papell Group, which includes the Adrianna Papell, Aidan Mattox and Hailey Logan businesses, has annual sales “north of $150 million wholesale,” and Adrianna Papell accounts for more than two-thirds of that figure, Berkman said. In February, the company plans to upgrade to larger offices, 38,000-square-foot ones to be precise, at 500 Seventh Avenue.