MARKET BASKET

WRAPS OFF THE RACKS: Saks Fifth Avenue has postponed two Diane Von Furstenberg personal appearances because the retailer has nearly sold out of the designer’s signature wrap dresses. Appearances set for Chicago today and Atlanta on Thursday have been moved to Oct. 16 and Oct. 21, respectively.
More than 600 of the reincarnated, $190 wrap dresses had sold by the fifth appearance by Von Furstenberg and her daughter-in-law, creative director Alexandra Von Furstenberg, on Sept. 9 at the flagship here. At that time, sizes 2, 4 and 6 had sold out in the most popular prints, including the signature Diane grafitti model.
The number sold topped 1,000 after additional appearances in Houston; Tyson’s Corner, Va., and Boston, where most customers had to place orders for the dresses based on sketches and swatches. Saks expects another delivery in two weeks to fulfill some of the customer demand, said Lynne Ronan, senior vice president.
“It’s the greatest thing since 7-Up,” said Ronan, adding that based on the dresses’ success in 10 stores, Saks plans to expand distribution of the items to 50 doors in November.

NICOLE MILLER IN CHINA: Nicole Miller will formalize a Chinese distribution contract this week with China National Huayu Import & Export Trading Co.
The company has sold silk ties in China for more than a year through another distributor. Based on their success, Nicole Miller plans to expand its distribution in China to include sportswear and dresses. As part of the pactt, China National Huayu will open a Nicole Miller boutique in Shanghai in 1998.
The deal is projected to generate $3 million to $5 million in sales in its first year, said Bud Konheim, chief executive officer. Nicole Miller and Konheim are in Shanghai this week to sign the agreement during the Shanghai International Fashion Culture Festival. Miller will present a runway show of her fall dress, sportswear and eveningwear collections there.

HALSTON AT HARROD’S: After a triumphant fall debut in the U.S. at Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman, Halston Signature will make its European premiere next month at Harrods in London.
Carmine Porcelli, managing director and executive vice president of Halston International, said a charity luncheon and fashion show will take place Oct. 14, followed by a two-day trunk show and personal appearances by designer Randolph Duke on Oct. 14 and 15. Duke will stage a still-life presentation with 22 models on the international designer floor at Harrods.
A 400-square-foot Halston Signature in-store shop is expected to generate first-year sales of $500,000, Porcelli said. He hopes the Harrods shop will be a launching pad to further European distribution.

SWISS CUSTOM: Akris, the Swiss ready-to-wear firm, has launched a made-to-order group of eveningwear available only at its new Newbury Street boutique in Boston.
Customers can select from 15 to 20 Akris designs and customize the look with fabric or color. Orders placed at the Boston shop will be custom-made in Switzerland and delivered to the customer in four to six weeks, said an Akris spokeswoman.
Akris is marketing the made-to-order group as its Prestige Collection. The initial offerings, which will be available year-round, include silk cocktail dresses, column gowns and chiffon pajamas that retail upwards of $2,000. An additional 10 to 15 styles will be added to the Prestige Collection each season, the spokeswoman said.

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