DENIM DISH

CASHING IN
So who gets the biggest bonus from the initial public offering filed this week by Designer Holdings Ltd., the licensee for Calvin Klein Jeans?
Not Calvin Klein, whose name is on the jeans but who is merely the licensor. In fact, news of the Monday-night filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission by Designer Holdings came as a big surprise to the designer, according to sources close to the company.
As reported, Designer Holdings expects to net $68.4 million from the IPO.
Its principal shareholders are Charter House Equity Partners II LP, New York, which owns 49.9 percent, and the company’s president and chief executive officer, Arnold H. Simon, who owns 46.1 percent.
Michael A. Covino of White Plains, N.Y., owns 1.4 percent. Stakes of less than 1 percent each are owned by five other investors.
Simon received a salary of $1 million and a bonus of $3.35 million in 1995. Daniel J. Gladstone, president of the Calvin Klein Jeans division, got $350,000 and a $1.2 million bonus.
Designer Holdings was formed last month by Denim Holdings Inc., the company that resulted from the March 1995 merger of Rio Sportswear Holdings Inc. and Jeanswear Holdings Inc.

DIFFA DENIM
About 100 models done up as panthers, angels, drag queens — and even a Madonna wannabe — donned denim jackets for the March 9 eighth annual DIFFA Dallas Collection, an auction and fashion show that raises money for local AIDS organizations.
But these weren’t just any denim jackets — they were donated by Old Navy Clothing Co. and customized by designers ranging from Isaac Mizrahi and Gianni Versace to locally based talent such as Eve Reid.
About 1,500 people attended the runway show, which was staged in a tent outside Neiman Marcus’s North Park Center store.
Neiman’s has been the lead sponsor of the event for the past two years.
Other donating designers included Gianfranco FerrA, Carolina Herrera and Donna Karan. Mizrahi attended the show after appearing at Neiman’s earlier in the day to tout his new Isaac label. His denim jacket design, encrusted with rock crystal beads and paired with a pale blue silk chiffon dress, fetched $2,750 at the auction.
“It’s nice to have a pop culture icon with us tonight,” joked Neiman’s chief executive officer, Burton Tansky, when he introduced Mizrahi.
Tansky, fresh into Dallas after the Milan fall collections, said staging the DIFFA show at North Park was an opportunity to show off the newly remodeled Neiman’s there. It’s one of the chain’s top three stores, reportedly ringing up over $100 million a year.
Top dollar was brought in by a crystal-covered denim jacket and matching sheer dress by Crystal Cruises, at $5,250. The ensemble included cruise tickets for two.
Among the more unusual jackets this year was a jacket from St. Paul Hospital in Dallas that included a certificate for a facelift. The jacket, called “Nuns on the Run,” brought in $5,000.
The auction’s results have not been tallied yet, but organizers expect it to surpass last year’s take of $184,000. Since its inception in 1988, DIFFA has raised over $735,000 for Dallas AIDS organizations.

CHILL OUT
Jeanswear company MarithA & Francois Girbaud is launching a new promotion for its X-front shorts — so named because the pattern pieces in the front yoke of the shorts create an X. The company is referring to the pattern as the “cool front.”
The company, whose North American business is licensed to VF Corp., will distribute refrigerators to 20 selected retailers at the end of the month to be used as display units for the shorts. Other retailers will receive trunk-sized silver insulated coolers for the shorts, which wholesale for $26. Girbaud is also offering a gift-with-purchase of a lunch box-sized silver cooler.
Girbaud also has a new ad campaign, created by Foundation, a Seattle ad agency. In addition to appearing in April issues of magazines such as Mademoiselle, Vibe, Spin and Details, the graphics from the campaign will replace Girbaud’s current point-of-sale materials by the end of the spring season.

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