NEW AT THE MART
Byline: Georgia Lee
New Corporate Showrooms
MAUREENE KEENE NYC, 11N207: The new novelty knit sportswear line is thermal cotton, with three-dimensional, handmade motifs of silk or cotton organza. For fall, themes include roses, irises and butterflies.
Barneys New York was the first store last year to buy the collection, which also appeared in the windows of Henri Bendel’s 57th Street New York store under the caption “Keene’s Madness.”
The whimsical line, which targets upper-end specialty stores, is offered in a newly opened, 250-square-foot corporate showroom in AmericasMart for June.
Wholesale prices for knit tops and tunics are $55 to $105, dresses are $85 to $125.
POLECI, 11W362B: Los Angeles-based Poleci, a contemporary sportswear line launched in 1993, has opened a new 1,000-square-foot showroom.
“We have clean, crisp lines, sophisticated styling with an edge, sexy feminine, form-fitting bodies in European fabrics,” said Janice Levin-Krok, president, who owns the company with Diane Levin.
Key for fall are shades of gray and details such as pleating, ruching, clear sequins, beading and fur trims. New silhouettes include longer skirts, wider trousers and bias cuts.
Cotton poplin “boy shirts” in solids and pinstripes are paired with rayon, nylon and Lycra spandex pieces such as clam-diggers, straight- leg trousers, skirts, blazers and jackets.
Sheer fabrics have embroidered linings and pleated sheer overlays. Matte jersey fabrics are studded with rhinestones and cut into sleeveless and elbow-length shirts and tank and slip dresses. Stretch organza is beaded or decorated with clear sequins. One sheer group features black and white flocking reminiscent of ancient hieroglyphics.
Signature form-fitting suits include stretch melange pieces with biased paneling. Classic and zip jackets are paired with kilt-influenced skirts or tab-front trousers.
Novelty fall fabrics include origami-pleated georgette and silk charmeuse with a “cracked ice” floral treatment. An illusion sequin group has a sequined lining with a mesh overlay. A double-faced velvet group includes jackets with fake fur collars, knee-length skirts and a slip dress with a twist top.
Sweaters are a growing category, in tightly woven cashmere silk and Lycra with raised seams and leather detail.
The leather group includes a three-quarter length coat; a short, button-front jacket; classic straight-leg trousers and a 14-inch miniskirt.
Wholesale prices range from $19 for a camisole to $300 for a leather coat.
JAGO FASHION ACCESSORIES, 7S118: Jago, an Amsterdam, Holland-based accessories distributor, opened its second U.S. showroom in April at AmericasMart.
With 22 European showrooms and the other American showroom in Chicago, Jago sells to 35,000 specialty stores, primarily in Europe. Sales for fiscal year 1996/97 reached $25 million.
Jago’s in-house design team creates the scarves and shawls, which are sold under the Jago label. Other offerings include hats by Menke Poelmann, belts by Kudos, from Vancouver, Canada; and jewelry by Carol for Eva Graham, New York.
With no minimums, Jago is open five days a week. The firm plans to open six cash-and-carry showrooms throughout the U.S. in the next three years.
Asian and African-inspired prints and colors highlight the scarf collection, with wholesale prices from $2.50 to $39.
Jewelry has similar exotic themes and includes fake ivory and wood in animal motifs, with prices from $6 to $25.
Hats are casual to dressy, ranging from $3.50 for a cotton baseball cap to $36 for straw styles, which come in eight colors.
Belts are more fashion-inspired than basic. They come in leather styles ornamented with hardware and range from $15 to $20.
DON OVERCAST & ASSOCI-ATES, 10E112: J. Laxemi, a new beaded evening line by New York-based Jai Ma Creations, Inc., includes gowns with halter, jewel and mandarin necklines, two-piece dresses with chiffon skirts and evening separates.
The all-beaded, 50-piece line is produced in India, with intricate patterns and details, said Ed Diamond, CEO. It aims at a young contemporary customer looking for more detail than found in the typical beaded lines in department stores.
Wholesale prices range from $150 to $300.
RICK, SARAH & BUDDY MILLER, 9W123: Los Angeles-based Tadashi is adding a separates line to its special occasion dresses.
The new group, with around 50 pieces for fall, includes bodysuits, tops, long and short skirts and jackets in the same sheer and body-conscious fabrics used for dresses.
“Other evening separates are ladylike or blousy,” said David Bershad, national sales manager. “We’re trying to create a niche by adding sexiness.” The separates line should grow to 25 percent of business by year’s end.
Tops include corsets and bustiers in denim, brocade and metallic fabrics with hook-and-eye and tie closures. They’re paired with full satin skirts. A key item, the “Jungle Bee,” bodysuit features alternating animal prints with illusion in stretch velvet.
Stretch velvet continues to be a bestselling fabric, spliced with embroidered inserts. Forest green, navy, chocolate and black are key fall colors.
“It’s hard to get people out of the black syndrome,” said Bershad. “But colors have been well-received in the South.”
Prom customers make up 50 percent of sales, and Tadashi has also picked up more mother-of-the-bride business, said Bershad.