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Heatherette to Fete Launch at Bendel’s

Heatherette launches at Henri Bendel tonight with store windows and a big party.

NEW YORK — Heatherette’s Richie Rich and Traver Rains are making good on their promise and finally have a full collection for stores to sell.

Tonight, the fashion duo is hosting a party at Henri Bendel to celebrate the launch of its collection there. Bendel’s will focus mostly on Heatherette’s party dresses and denim looks, priced to retail from $88 to $278 for jeans and T-shirts and $338 to $768 for dresses.

Since launching its label in 1999, Heatherette has managed to garner much media attention, but never had the means to create a salable collection, let alone any real distribution. After partnering last September with New York-based Weisfeld Group, which is also an investor in Fubu, Rich and Rains are en route to having a real business that could rake in wholesale volume of up to $10 million next year.

“Over the last five years, Heatherette has been brewing. We have had fashion shows, but have always been limited in production,” said Rich last Friday from Palermo, Italy, where he was frolicking in the sun with Rains, muse Amanda Lepore and photographer David LaChapelle. “Now we feel it’s time to officially launch, and we wanted to do it with a store that was well suited to who we are.”

Rich and Rains make no secret of the fact that they are obsessed with all things New York, so launching with Bendel’s seemed natural. After all, the store has been credited with helping New York legends such as Stephen Sprouse and Stephen Burrows. To announce Heatherette’s arrival, the specialty store collaborated with LaChapelle on the window displays, which were installed on Monday and will be in place for a week.

“I wanted these windows to really launch Heatherette … to let New York and everyone else know that they’re here,” said Bill Miller, Bendel’s director of visual merchandising. “If we could let people know we have Heatherette and the windows are fun, then we did our job.”

The windows will be as colorful as the label itself. LaChapelle just moved out of his 13th Street studio to spend more time in Los Angeles, so the Heatherette boys raided it for props. One window will feature a mannequin in a purple prom dress surrounded by stuffed animals such as unicorns and Care Bears, against the backdrop of a large light sign that spells out “Heaven.” Another will be an ode to Heatherette muse Paris Hilton, and will feature a mannequin surrounded by loose body parts. “It’s almost like they were demolished, and she is rising above the ashes,” Rich quipped.

This story first appeared in the August 9, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The third window is styled to resemble a boudoir, and Amanda Lepore will be sitting in it for two days applying lipstick.

“When we worked with Heatherette and LaChapelle, we used their studio as the template … It feels like a Heatherette party,” Miller said.

For the Bendel’s launch party tonight, the duo tapped Susanne Bartsch, Lydia Hearst and Jake Shears, part of Scissor Sisters, as special guest hosts. “It’s uptown, downtown, Midtown,” Rich mused. “The Heatherette girl has no limitations.”