Byline: Eric Wilson

NEW YORK — Designer Matt Nye’s first men’s wear collection made it into four major accounts — such a quick success that he’s launching women’s outerwear and sportswear for spring.
The 32-year-old alumnus of Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren launched his line of men’s sportswear and coats for the upcoming fall season, and it has already been picked up by Bergdorf Goodman, Louis of Boston, Fred Segal and Wilkes Bashford.
When buyers at Henri Bendel got word of Nye’s collection, they asked him to make up some of his outerwear designs for women. They will bow at Bendel’s Fifth Avenue store this fall.
“We heard about his men’s collection, and that obviously piqued our interest,” said Ed Burstell, general merchandise manager at Bendel’s. “The styles are terrific.”
The women’s coats will be carried exclusively at Bendel’s for fall and will include five styles — all black, classic peacoats and bomber jackets in 21-ounce wool finished with tailored English details like high arm holes and a narrow silhouette.
The line wholesales from $500 to $550. Nye declined to offer a sales projection.
“Coats to me are the most architectural detail of a wardrobe,” Nye said. “If you’re building a house, you start with the framework and build the walls before you move inside.”
Based on the initial women’s order, for which Nye remade his men’s designs into women’s sizes, the designer said he has expanded his women’s offerings into sportswear in his spring ’99 collection, which opens this week.
The line includes white pique and micro-ribbed T-shirts cropped at the waist, cotton and cashmere chunky knit sweaters and tailored shirts and pants that echo his men’s collection. T-shirts start at $30 wholesale, cotton sweaters at $150 and shirts and pants range from $75 to $200.
“I think women find men’s clothes very appealing,” Nye said. “It’s just sexier than women’s garments that are made with feminine details.”

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