NM’S DOUBLE PLAY

Byline: Rusty Williamson, Dallas / Kristi Ellis, Los Angeles

DALLAS — Both Gianfranco Ferre and Richard Tyler gave Neiman Marcus customers some personal attention this month, at separate appearances in Dallas and Beverly Hills, respectively.
Ferre presented his fall collection for women and men on the runway at Neiman’s, where he was the featured designer at the chain’s annual best-dressed luncheon on Sept. 4. It was staged in conjunction with this city’s Crystal Charity Ball, a high-glitz affair that benefits children’s charities. There was also a two-day trunk show of his pre-spring collection.
Tyler presented his new designer sportswear line — called Richard Tyler Collection, priced lower than his established Couture collection — at Neiman’s in Beverly Hills with a two-day trunk show and in-store appearances on Sept. 8 and 9. Neiman’s also hosted a cocktail reception and fashion show on Sept. 8, which drew about 200 invited guests.
At the Ferre trunk show, top-selling looks included a black wool crepe sleeveless column dress with mock turtleneck, a red silk ottoman pantsuit with covered buttons and Mao collar, and a navy silk charmeuse jacket with jewel buttons. While the store would not comment on volume done, one source put the figure at “considerably over $100,000.”
Though his apparel hangs in Neiman’s second-floor designer salon, Ferre’s presence was felt the minute customers walked in the front door: a fashion retrospective chronicling his recent career was staged on the first floor, and several moody window displays featured his fall line.
In a chat with WWD, Ferre said he’s looking forward to opening new U.S. offices and a showroom in New York on Fifth Avenue. The site will be about 9,000 square feet and carry all Ferre’s lines. Before, Ferre’s U.S. businesses were handled from Milan, except for bridge collection Gieffeffe and Gianfranco Ferre Studio, both operated by Marzotto USA.
Dressed in a blue jacket with black piping made by his Bavarian tailor, Ferre said he’s tired of the endless recidivism that’s gripped fashion in recent seasons.
“Today’s designers rely too much on the past for inspiration,” he said.”I believe in looking to the present and the future.”
For spring, his women’s collection will likely mix romantic elements with a masculine touch, including lots of pants, Ferre explained. “The duty of modern design is to reply to our culture,” he continued. “It’s also important to keep in mind the bodies of those who wear it — the clothes must be wearable.”
Tyler’s two-day trunk show in Beverly Hills was expected to ring up $100,000 in sales, according to Joshua Schulman, vice president and director of sales and marketing for Tyler Trafficante, the designer’s company.
Tyler said that he launched the lower-priced sportswear collection to reach a broader customer base.
“Our customers were asking for it,” Tyler told WWD. “This collection is more lifestyle and it has a younger spirit.”
In Beverly Hills, Tyler’s bestsellers were a gray Lurex metallic pantsuit priced at $1,430, a black chiffon halter with matching skirt, $910; a teal leather coat, $2,005; purple leather pants, $1,390, and gray suede pants, $1,295.
Tyler said his favorite piece was a brown, painted velvet blazer at $1,540. “It’s very Richard Tyler signature,” said the designer.

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