KNIT PICKS

Byline: Elizabeth Gladfelter, with contributions from Allegra Holch

LIZ STRETCHES OUT
Liz Claiborne Inc. and DuPont have teamed up to introduce an application for Lycra spandex called Lycra 3-D. This is the first tiame Lycra 3-D has been applied to sportswear. With Lycra 3-D, the Lycra is knit into every course of the fabric, rather than every other one. The original application was in hosiery.
The program, called Liz & Lycra, includes several stretch knit pieces in Claiborne’s casual knit division, Liz & Co. The pieces include leggings and pants in Supplex nylon with Lycra 3-D. Other styles include a mock turtleneck, a crewneck, slim pants, an A-line dress and an A-line wrap skirt. There are also two jackets.
The group will wholesale for $19 to $34. Leggings are $24, and the A-line dress wholesales for $34.
All pieces will have a special Liz & Lycra hangtag.
“Last fall, during a trip to Europe with the design team, we noticed lots of things happening in stretch, and we wanted to incorporate it into our line,” said Christa Michalaros, president of Liz & Co. “From consumer research results, we found that women wanted versatility, comfort and durability in a garment, and obviously stretch covers all of those elements.
“The first thing we did was convert our basic cotton and Lycra spandex legging into Supplex nylon and Lycra 3-D,” she added.
“Leggings were a category women weren’t giving up, but they’re also a category that’s one of the hardest to determine quality level,” said Virginia D. Duncan, market segment manager for DuPont. “We saw an opportunity to enter the ready-to-wear market by offering Lycra 3-D in leggings and stirrups.”
The products were wear-tested by staff members at Claiborne and the bagging in the knees that occurs primarily in stirrup pants was eliminated by the Lycra 3-D.
The Liz & Lycra launch will kick off this month at Macy’s Herald Square, with in-store events scheduled for Monday, following a New York Times ad on Sunday. The ads and in-store visuals feature American Ballet Theater principal dancer Julie Kent photographed by Jose Picayo.
The Liz & Lycra promotion will run in 10 department store chains, and the event will be launched at 19 doors nationwide, with promotional events running from Monday, March 11, through April.

ON THE SURFACE
Spadafora USA, a knitwear company based in New York, has given new surface interest to some of its mainstay fibers.
“Textures meet the needs of younger people, who like surface in their knits and wovens,” said Betsy Pasteur, director of Spadafora. “Everything is soft and light, not bulky. Shapes are in everything, from structured to tunic.”
A new fabric this season is a knitted crepe, which consists of 50 percent wool, 25 percent nylon and 25 percent acrylic.
“It feels very dry to the hand,” said Pasteur.
Another new weave is 45 percent rayon, 15 percent nylon, 10 percent angora and 30 percent wool. The blend is very soft, almost cashmere-like, and because of the rayon and nylon blend, there is a slight sheen to it.

NEW FOR BELFORD
Belford Inc., known for its cashmere and cotton knits, has updated its line with woven combinations of new silks and a sleeker shape for fall, according to Herb Cohen, vice president and sales manager.
New to the line are a handknit camel hair, marled cotton, velvet and an Italian yarn called torciglio, which is 88 percent wool and 12 percent nylon. The palette is soft neutrals.
Cohen said a current best-selling silk duo is a bolero jacket with a tank top. They are being recut for April 30 delivery. The tank wholesales for $48 and the tie-front bolero jacket for $88. Belford recently opened its first British account at the House of Fraser department store.

SADIMARA BREAKS FREE
Sadimara, which holds licenses for the Oscar bridge line and Anne Klein Knitwear, has launched a knitwear collection under its own name. It is the first time the company has had its own label.
A key component of the Sadimara line, which will be available for fall delivery, will be zegna baruffa, a merino wool imported exclusively from Italy. Two- and three-piece dressing, sweaters, twinsets, trousers and skirts are some of the items in which zegna baruffa is featured.
Among the stores that have bought the fall line are J. McLaughlin in New York; La Botega, Woonsocket, R.I.; Cedrics in Edina, Minn., and Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and The Carriage, in Charlotte, N.C.
Wholesale prices range from $46 to $84, and first-year wholesale volume is estimated at $15 million, said Lisa Minerva, account executive.

NO SMALL MATTER
Knitwear designer Michael Simon has launched a petite line for fall. Sharon Roberts, national sales manager, said the line was created “to accommodate the constant demand for Simon’s handmade sweaters by the consumer and the store.”
Color is key in the line, which is patterned after Simon’s women’s line. Jacobson’s will launch the petite collection this fall.
The petite line wholesales from $48 to $98. It is expected to generate $5 million at wholesale in the first year.
Simon also does a children’s line called Simon Sez, which was introduced last year.

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