Byline: Holly Haber
DALLAS — Two French sportswear lines — Equipment, a trendy collection that originated in Paris, and Philippe Adec, a clean bridge line aimed at the misses’ market — are both being shown here for the first time by GeNe Sales.
The two collections are produced by Morelle Products, a New York firm owned by Aby Saltiel. Saltiel bought Equipment last spring after having licensed the line in the U.S. for 17 years. He also has a long history with Philippe Adec, having licensed production and distribution of the line in the U.S. for 18 years.
“The owner of Equipment is a good friend and decided to retire,” Saltiel explained. “It was natural for me to buy it from him since I had the U.S. license and I worked creating it with him for many years.”
Saltiel has high hopes for Equipment, projecting he’ll reach $5 million in annual sales within a year. The label went on hiatus after fall 1998 deliveries and resumed with fall 1999 shipments after Saltiel bought it. At its peak in 1995, Equipment did $5 million, he noted.
The line has been well received since its relaunch, with Bergdorf Goodman weighing in as its biggest customer.
Philippe Adec, whose accounts include Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus, is more mature and is expected to do $9 million in the U.S. this year, Saltiel said. It is also distributed in Europe and Asia by its Paris owner.
Equipment is younger and more forward, offering novelty looks and high tech coated fabrics and two-way-stretch textiles. It wholesales from $50 for a T-shirt to $300 for a leather jacket.
“We are using the latest in fabrics and color,” Saltiel pointed out. “One of the most important things for us is to use fabrics that are very comfortable on the body and easy care. We feel that women don’t want to take shirts out to the cleaners. It’s about shape and color.”
Those fabrics include a stretch cotton and polyester woven with a ceramic finish that insulates the body, Teflon-coated cotton that resists stains and hollowed wool, cotton and polyester yarns that have a natural stretch without the use of spandex.
“Fabrics are going through a big technological change, and they all have reasons for being,” Saltiel noted. “They can be antibacterial or protective from the elements, breathable and stain resistant.”
But the line certainly doesn’t look utilitarian. Some of the cutest looks for spring are a yellow and mushroom checked shirt with ruched sides over mushroom cotton and polyester stretch shorts, or a gray lambsuede side-buckle short wrap skirt paired with a simple sleeveless white cotton shell.
“For spring, we believe very much in embroideries and prints, florals and dots,” Saltiel noted.
Philippe Adec specializes in more tailored looks.
“I do not want to abandon jackets,” Saltiel pointed out. “I think they are very beautiful and suits are very important. Women feel the most comfortable in a beautiful suit. The strength [of Adec] is pants and jackets.”
Adec’s spring line uses the natural stretch wool fabric in navy, black and beige that gains its elasticity from hollow fibers, and washed linen in lime, orange and beige sewn into patchworks, among other fabrics.
“We are into cleanliness,” Saltiel pointed out. “We don’t load the things on. We make them very simple and wearable. It’s very much about fit also. We have extremely good fitting pants.”
Saltiel has a showroom at 209 West 38th Street in New York, and the August market was his first foray into Dallas.
“I think we had a very good first market, even though it was a small one,” he reflected. “We will get the best results when we go to next market, the spring market. We have never shown in Dallas before because we did all our business from New York and Los Angeles. But [GeNe owner] Nat Ekelman is very persuasive.”