IN THE MARKETS
Byline: RUSTY WILLIAMSON
Carlo Moda’s New Style
DALLAS — Carlo Moda, a better sportswear firm here, has a new designer and a new look.
Last fall, Larry Lott took over design with a mandate to update and broaden the appeal of Carlo Moda’s misses’ styling, sold mainly in women’s specialty stores.
Lott closed his own contemporary sportswear company in October to accept the post at Carlo Moda. He replaced Carl Benson, who retired.
“We want to give Carlo Moda a more updated edge, more fashion flair,” explained John Eshelbrenner, owner and president. “We already have a good misses’ account base. With Larry’s design direction, the line also will be more appealing to the more updated market.”
“I miss having my own label, but it’s more important at this point to be exposed to John’s background and sales experience,” Lott said. “Plus, I’m working with great fabric mills, mainly from Germany and Italy, and working really far ahead. Formerly, I was literally cutting so close and having to do everything in a shorter amount of time.”
Eshelbrenner, who opened Carlo Moda about three years ago, projected sales to jump this year about 25 to 30 percent ahead of 1994’s $2 million.
At his own two-year-old firm, Lott did about $100,000 for 1994.
For the market next week, Carlo Moda’s 60-piece transition collection will be headlined by shape, including bustiers and shorter curving jackets.
“It’s a more feminine and softer look,” said Lott. “That’s the latest news from New York and Europe.”
Other silhouettes include full, long and shaped short skirts and slimmer pants.
Wholesale prices go from $24 for a shirt to $99 for a shaped jacket.
Lott was enthusiastic about producing custom prints and using fabric blends for his debut collection at Carlo Moda, including Tencel blended with rayon and wool. Rayon crepe also is a house favorite.
Prints include free-form scrolls, soft florals and novelties. Main color stories are neutral, rust and ivory, bright pink and purple and traditional navy and chambray.
Carlo Moda is shown in Dallas with Harold Wilson & Associates in room 3337 of the International Apparel Mart. It’s also available through multiple line representatives in Chicago, Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C.
Tentative plans call for a New York representative sometime this year.
Aznavour’s Simple Shapes
DALLAS — When she was growing up in Lebanon, Tamar Aznavour sewed clothing as a hobby. Now she’s become one of the newest entries to the Dallas fashion design scene.
First-year sales for her self-named line of casual sportswear, in business since March, are projected at $100,000.
The line hangs at the International Apparel Mart with multiple-line representative Saundra Whittington in room 2G19 and also with a rep in San Francisco. Plans call for showing the line in Los Angeles.
“When I first moved to Dallas, the fashions were a little behind, and I was disappointed,” said Aznavour, who moved here about nine years ago to be near her sister. “I wanted to make a difference. In Lebanon, the European influences are strong.”
Her 30-piece summer and transition collection is simple with subtle shape, made mostly from linen or rayon acetate.
Styles include long and short vests, trademark sweeping A-line dresses, three-quarter-length jackets and pants of various widths, including a new cigarette style.
“Everything has shape and is more fitted to the body than before — but not so structured,” explained Aznavour, who owns the business with her husband Rafi Aznavour.
Colors include ivory, red and black, often rendered with large or small tartan plaids or small checks. Lace trims many of the styles.
Wholesale prices are $22 for a cotton and Lycra top to $87 for a long linen jacket.
About 30 stores stock Aznavour’s styles, including The Mustard Seed, Napa, Calif., and Avanti, San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Jenny Shaheen, manager and assistant buyer at Avanti, said, “We fought for the line — other stores in the area wanted it. It’s performing very well. It has a designer look, but the price is still in the moderate range.”
Aznavour works out of her home and hires contractors to produce the apparel.
Before embarking on her design career, she worked as an assistant buyer for Bealls Department Stores, a division of Specialty Retailers Inc., Houston, and as a design assistant for a local dress maker.
Following those stints, she earned a fashion marketing degree from Brookhaven College here.