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Little Marc to Expand for Spring

Marc Jacobs' children's label, which launched last August with a capsule collection of waffle-weave thermal separates for toddlers, is expanding into a full collection of clothes and accessories.

NEW YORK — Little Marc is growing up next spring.

Marc Jacobs’ children’s label, which launched last August with a capsule collection of waffle-weave thermal separates for toddlers, is expanding into a full collection of clothes and accessories, including shoes for children, from infants to 12-year-olds. To that end, Marc Jacobs International has inked a licensing deal with Zannier Group, the privately held Paris-based children’s wear manufacturer that owns such brands as Tartine et Chocolat, Kickers shoes, Lili Gaufrette, Floriane, Absorba and Confetti and makes licensed children’s wear for Levi’s and Kookaï in Europe. The licensed Little Marc collection will launch next spring with about 50 looks each for girls and boys.

“We did the little thermals, and they sold really well,” said Robert Duffy, president of Marc Jacobs, recalling how the first two shipments to Marc Jacobs and Marc by Marc Jacobs boutiques had 100 percent sell-throughs. “People were very interested in it, and a number of people have approached us about licenses, but we still wanted to experiment a little bit more, so we did T-shirts and baby jeans, and they sell really well, too.”

Duffy became aware of Zannier through a Tartine et Chocolat boutique located near his Paris home. “A lot of my friends shop there for their kids,” Duffy said. “[Zannier] did a test trial for Marc and I, which looked really cute. Their capability is fantastic….They were really able to almost duplicate the quality of Marc by Marc, with all the pipings and the details.”

When asked what the Little Marc collection will look like, Duffy said: “It’s like Marc by Marc Jacobs, just from sizes zero through 12.”

That said, children have different design requirements, a fact Duffy has become all too aware of in recent months. “I have already learned that there are certain things kids can’t wear,” he explained. “People like things that snap in the front, because it’s easier to get [children] in and out of…kids need elastic waists, and if you did little dresses, they like to have panties that match. It’s not something you think about if you have never had a kid.”

Little Marc will roll out for spring 2007. It will be sold in Marc Jacobs boutiques, and the wholesale distribution will likely mirror that of Marc Jacobs and Marc by Marc Jacobs, which is sold at Barneys New York and Neiman Marcus as well as a slew of specialty stores. The price points for the children’s launch collection are still being determined, but the pieces are likely to be less expensive. “They can do special pieces for me, and we want to continue to do cashmere thermals, because I sell a lot of the long johns,” Duffy said.

Duffy added that he has talked to Zannier about the possibility of eventually opening a stand-alone Little Marc boutique in New York.

Jacobs also recently signed a license with Waterford for a line of tabletop items, which will be labeled Marc Jacobs Waterford. The collection will launch this fall, and will include china, crystal stemware and barware and bar accessories, as well as gift items such as vases, bowls and candlesticks in crystals and precious metals.

The company is in the process of signing a lease for a larger unit uptown that could house all the different categories, including children’s wear and tabletop, though Duffy declined to disclose further details. Sources said it will most likely be located on Madison Avenue.

“Our brand is a lifestyle brand,” Duffy said. “I hope at some point, we are able to house everything together in one space and show the whole world of Marc Jacobs.”