KNIT PICKS

Byline: Elizabeth Gladfelter

Franchi BranchesOut

Accessories designer Franco Franchi has expanded into a bridge line of knits under his own name. The line, which consists of tops, bottoms, dresses and sweater coats, will hit stores this fall.
Among the key groups are a retro look of primarily 100 percent extra-fine merino wools, space-dyed boucles and Lurex sweaters with an extra soft hand. Silhouettes include sleeveless turtleneck sweaters, jewel-neck pullovers and kimono-styled wraps. The line, which is sourced and manufactured in Florence, wholesales from $60 to $145. The company anticipates wholesale volume of $1 million for 1997.
In addition to Franchi, the line is designed by Giovanna Cavicchioli and Marco Querci, both of whom also work with Franchi on his accessories.
Stores that said they have purchased the knitwear line include Tallulah, Woodbury, N.Y.; Roz & Sherm, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.; Scarboro Fair, Glencoe, Ill.; Brava, Clifton, N.J., and Mona’s…Wear Else, Newton, Pa.
Franchi’s accessories are sold at stores such as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s.

New Generation

New York based GX, previously only a denim company, has launched a knitwear line for spring.
The new line, introduced to the market in January, grossed $5 million in wholesale volume in its first month, according to vice president Kevin McFall. The company expects to generate between $10 million and $12 million at wholesale for the knits in 1997 and a total volume of some $72 million. The wholesale price range is $8 to $12.
Fabrics include velvet terry, acrylic stretch lace and ribbed cotton. Halter tops, peasant tops and snap-front shortsleeve tops are some of the highlights of the line, which is targeted to the junior customer.
Colors include expresso, eggplant and cadet blue.
The knits have been sold to chains such as Nordstrom, Dillard’s, Vanity, Brass Buckle, Gadzooks and Federated Stores.

In Vogue

Vogue Originals has been licensed to distribute a plus-size Delta Burke Knitwear line. The line, which has been ordered by such chains as J.C. Penney and Mercantile Stores, will also be featured in Penney’s catalog in July.
Vogue Originals, founded in 1949, is a knit manufacturer with a 60,000-square-foot facility in Miami.
“I chose Vogue Originals to give the license to because they can take basic knitwear and add embellishments such as embroidery and lace to novelty pieces,” said Delta Burke, design director of Delta Burke Design.
Key items are leggings with tunic tops, fleece tops, embellished knits with button and lace finishes, and a cardigan twinset in Lurex.
The items wholesale from $14 to $31. Sizes range from 14W to 26W.
“Delta lives in knits and wants to offer women looks for all aspects of their lives,” said Barry Zelman, senior vice president of merchandising and licensing at Delta Burke Design.
Anticipated wholesale volume for the knit line is $3.5 million to $5 million for 1997.

Nigel Knits Makes Debut

Nigel Knits NY will be launched Thursday with a fashion show at The Test Room, an image consulting group, at 625 Broadway in New York.
The line is designed by Tony Nigel, who heads the design team at Sade/Flux, an activewear and knitwear firm. Nigel Knits is a division of Sade/Flux.
Nigel said the line, which wholesales from $30 to $300, “incorporates day, evening and casual looks that are lavish but functional.”
It is marked by distinctive color blocking and striping. Shapes include wide pants, slim skirts and sari-style wraps.
The line includes a strapless, column dress wholesaling for $120 and a three-quarter length pullover with long sleeves at $40. Both items are cotton/acrylic blends.

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