A ROMANTIC SPRING SHAPES UP

LOS ANGELES — Manufacturers preparing for the California Collections Preview Spring event expect to tempt retailers with romance, sheer, active and stretch looks for next spring.
The CCPS event, which runs on Oct. 5 at the California Mart’s fashion theater, will feature a number of fashion shows for specific categories — two designer shows, one each for swimwear, juniors and contemporary/young designer — and will culminate with the presentation of the California Designer of the Year, Fashion Performance and Rising Star awards.
The schedule has been streamlined, with all the fashion shows running on one day as opposed to the two days of shows last year.
“We found that retailers and some of the press missed most of the shows on Saturday because they were still flying in,” said Maurice (Corky) Newman, president and chief executive officer of the mart.
Newman said the shows will start much earlier on Sunday — at 10 a.m. — and feature 60 companies, topping last year’s total by 20.
Newman said preregistration is also running ahead of last year, although he did not have figures at press time.
“This is the kickoff for the junior market and the first big swimwear show for department stores,” Newman said. He added that junior business “is on fire, which also gives us a leg up.”
“This is the only show that we do all year, and it is our one shot to do something,” said Tina Hagen, who will be in the designer collective fashion show. She has a Tina Hagen collection and a sportswear line, Via Milano by Tina Hagen.
Hagen said feminine looks with lace and embroideries will continue to be strong for spring in the collection business. But instead of Chinese embroideries that she did last spring, Hagen is focusing on a French Renaissance pattern on silk shantung.
She plans to do “an Ivory Coast, islandy look” in the Via Milano line, which will incorporate rayon georgettes, acetate knits and sateens in such colors as navy and cream and cranberry and cream. She is also banking on a safari group with stretch wovens. Wholesale prices range from $20 for tank tops to $140 to $150 for fur collar coats.
Orly Dahan, vice president of The Fetish Group Inc., the maker of Tag Rag, said his brand business to date is up by 50 percent over last year, and he expects spring business to be up over last year as well.
Tag Rag, a junior streetwear and sportswear line, will be in the junior collective show.
Dahan said he has penetrated better department stores such as Bon-Ton and Belk’s.
The line wholesales for $12 to $17 for tops, $15 to $22 for bottoms and $16 to $22 for jackets.
Dahan said he will continue active styles with a fashion twist for spring and move into more bottoms, including some denim.
Judy Rabineau, an owner of Mica, said that printed sheer and knit dresses will be key for spring.
“Burnout organzas will be the big thing for us,” Rabineau said.
As for lengths, Rabineau said she isn’t doing anything above the knee. Lengths will range from 24 to 27 inches.
She said that printed rayons and georgettes will continue, but the freshness will be in printed sheer knits. Rabineau has added printed matte jerseys and slick nylon and Lycra spandex.
She also plans to continue with crochets in chalky colors and embroidered stretch knits.
“CCPS is very important to us because the press comes out and top management comes out,” said Doug Arbetman, president and chief executive officer of The Sirena Apparel Group. “By October, we know the strengths of our line, and we can direct the stores to go after certain items and make sure that they are geared for the entire year.”
On the swimwear front, Sirena, which will show in the swimwear collective, is expecting a strong spring business in its six divisions.
Arbetman said bookings are already up 32 percent over last year. The company’s 1997 fiscal year ended June 30.
Arbetman said the two fastest-growing divisions have been Anne Klein and Sirena. Key items in the Anne Klein swimwear line have been floral tricot and mesh suits and colorblock athletic suits in doubleknits. Top looks in Sirena include metallic fabrics and textured colorblock ribs.
“Most of our prints have matching accessories, so the camp shirts, shorts and swimsuits all work together,” Arbetman said.
Liz Claiborne swimwear has had a strong showing with plaids in cool and hot color combinations and cotton and Lycra spandex stripes.
The average retail price points for the collections are $72 for Sirena, $78 for Liz Claiborne and $90 for Anne Klein.
The presentation of the California Designer of the Year, Fashion Performance and Rising Star awards will cap off the day at a black-tie event at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. It will benefit Covenant House.
The 10 nominees, five each for Designer of the Year and Rising Star, were chosen by a 50-member panel representing fashion press, buying offices and retailers.
Max Azria, of BCBG Max Azria, will receive the Fashion Performance Award that night. Nominees for Designer of the Year are William B., Lissa Zwahlen and Julie Aversa for Roxy, Janice Levin-Krok and Tom K. Nguyen for Poleci, Tom Mark for Mark Wong Nark and Max Azria for BCBG.
The Rising Star nominees are Trina Turk, Holly Fiene and Jamie Kamezawa for Lola, Kellie Delkeskamp for Josephine Loka, Anke Crispen for A. Crispen and Eduardo Lucero.

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