Byline: Kathleen Nicholson

NEW YORK — Susan Lizan has done just about everything in this business. She started her career as a buyer at Saks Fifth Avenue. She worked as a merchandiser; she owned her own rep firm, and in 1990, she started the sportswear label Against Gravitee. The only thing left to do was to design under her own name.
Now she can add that to her resume, too. Susan Lizan, a collection of day and evening dresses priced from $130 to $400, bows for fall and already has gotten the nod from retailers. Projected volume for 1998 is $3 million to $5 million.
“I was doing well for all the people in the showroom and said, ‘Why not do it for myself?’ It was a natural progression.” she said, describing her creations as bridge with a twist. “The stores kept telling me they needed this price point.”
Lizan, who has hired Ida Pedrotti as vice president of sales, said they are targeting specialty stores and select department stores. “I don’t want to be overexposed, so we are trying to choose one store per city.”
To date, they have garnered orders for fall from 75 stores, including Jamie’s of Nashville, Mel & Me in Providence, Rizik Bros. in Washington, Halls of Kansas City in Missouri and Frances Kahn of Richmond, Va.
For fall, bestsellers included wool or matte jersey dresses with matching cardigans, chenille crocheted dresses with cardigans, and wool jacket and dress ensembles.
This month, Lizan will open for holiday and resort with expanded offerings, including double-faced iridescent jacquards, cashmeres, UltraSuedes and knits. “I am not looking to make disposable clothes that you buy for one night and never wear again. I think what makes the collection special are the fabrics.”
Lizan plans to expand her account list and her name recognition. “I want to get to the point that the name is known, and then we can think about licensing,” she said. “But at the same time, we also want to make it special and exclusive.”

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