NEWSREEL

REGATTA REVS UP: Regatta, the mass fashion brand exclusive to Kmart Stores, has hooked up with model-actress Lauren Hutton for another consumer ad campaign. Hutton was featured in its fall print effort, a two-page insert. For spring, Hutton, as well as Michelle Hicks, will be part of an eight-page insert in the April issues of Vogue, Glamour, Redbook and Marie Claire. The campaign, created by Laspato/DeCaro Studio, costs $2.5 million.
Regatta is in all Kmart stores, with sources estimating it will hit $80 million in wholesale volume by the end of the year.
“It is really taking off,” said Barbara Tichner, president of the women’s wear division, adding that she is working on expanding the label into other categories such as swimwear and knitwear. She said she is also working on a children’s wear line for early fall ’97.
“With our New York presence, the label is getting a higher profile, and we are now attracting a hipper customer,” she said.
The line wholesales from $7 to $8.50. Some of the bestsellers for fall include cotton mock turtlenecks, wide-wale corduroy pants and velvet stretch tops.
Regatta, founded in 1909, has had a series of owners, including Jones New York, Carmi Ainsbrooke of Chicago and Genesco. In the early Nineties, it was positioned in the better women’s and men’s sportswear departments.
Last spring, it was relaunched as a mass label exclusively for Kmart.

HELEN FABRIKANT RETURNS: Helen Fabrikant, who closed her sportswear business three years ago, is back.
Fabrikant formed a company called Triple H Designs in July with her husband, Herb, and a silent partner to market a sportswear line bearing her name. It’s slated to be in stores next month.
The collection includes blouses, pants and jackets, as well as some eveningwear. Fabrics include silk, microfiber and cotton.
The line is being sourced in Asia, mostly in China. Fabrikant’s original line was made in the U.S.
First-year wholesale volume is projected at $2 million to $3 million. The line will be shipped to 70 doors, primarily to specialty stores such as Rizik Bros., Washington; Julian Gold, a three-unit chain in San Antonio, and Harold Grant, a four-store chain in Palm Beach, Fla.
The collection is being shown at 530 Seventh Avenue, New York.
Wholesale prices range from $47 to $75 for tops, $45 to $58 for pants and $42 to $52 for lined vests.
The designer opened her original sportswear business in 1970. The collection — primarily blouses and pants in microfiber and cotton — generated a wholesale volume of $14 million in its heyday in 1990.
“I took some time off to think about what I wanted to do,” said Fabrikant.”I needed a sabbatical, but now I am ready.”

FRENCH CONNECTION’S LUCKY 13TH: French Connection, a New York contemporary resource, will open its 13th freestanding store next Tuesday at 420 North Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills. The unit is about 5,300 square feet.
The firm plans to open five to six additional stores in San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, and Stamford, Conn., within the next two years, according to Paige Axelrod, account executive.

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