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L.A. Designers Link With QVC for Spring Lines

Geren Lockhart, Rachel Pally, Cynthia Vincent and Karen Zambos are getting ready to broaden their horizons.

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Los Angeles-based contemporary designers Geren Lockhart, Rachel Pally, Cynthia Vincent and Karen Zambos are getting ready to broaden their horizons with lower-priced collections for QVC come spring.

The Westchester, Pa.-based home shopping network will feature Lockhart and Vincent on the fifth installment of its New York Fashion Week Spring 2012 program on Feb. 10 and Zambos on Feb. 11, while Pally will take center stage during its red-carpet-themed show, filmed in Beverly Hills on Oscar weekend Feb. 24.

“We think there is a huge opportunity in the contemporary market and we liked the casual relaxed style that L.A. designers are known for. We’re always looking to provide versatility and diversity for our customers, so it was definitely strategic,” said Doug Howe, executive vice president of merchandise, planning and sales at QVC.

In exchange, the designers, whose businesses hover in the $5 million to $20 million range with boutique-heavy distribution, will be introduced to QVC’s home audience of 100 million viewers.

“It’s a win-win,” said Lockhart, who designs the Geren Ford line. “I get to be creative and reach a ton of new people, and QVC takes care of the production.” Lockhart, like her peers, has dabbled in lower-priced collections, creating her own diffusion line as well as one for Urban Outfitters.

Each designer created about eight spring pieces ranging in price from $47 to $110, or roughly one-half to one-quarter the price of their signature collections. Dubbed GF by Geren Ford, RP by Rachel Pally, CV by Cynthia Vincent and KZ by Karen Zambos, the collections will retail on QVC’s Web site after their television debuts.

Working with QVC to distill their signature looks into pieces popular with its viewers, each designer adapted prints from current or past collections, modified fabrics from silk to polyester or Modal to Spandex, and retained trademark details to create the capsule collections.

“The common theme was easy, relaxed summer dresses, but each designer has her own aesthetic, which was why we chose these four together,” said Howe, who declined to give sales estimates. Each designer is already at work on fall 2012 collections and Howe stressed that “our goal is to develop long-term relationships.”

For multitasker Zambos, who also designs a belt line called Elegantly Waisted and a bag line called Zambos & Siega, the deal is a way to keep the creative juices — and income — flowing. “I’m always looking for something else to do,” she said. “When I was working retail [at the now-closed Tracey Ross boutique], I would come home and work on my own line at night. Now that it’s my day job, I still want a side project,” she said.

Vincent, who has created a shoe collection for Target and recently revived her girls’ line, said the recession taught her that, “It’s a very item-driven market now. Every piece has to be able to stand alone because customers are very savvy and have a lot of choices.”

For Pally, who already sells her collection in department stores and on Amazon.com and Piperlime, QVC’s approach dovetailed with her longtime desire to start a diffusion line. “The timing was perfect. I have always said my dresses are for everyone and I offer sizes 2 to 22. Now I can reach all price points,” she said.

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