DALLAS — Randy Kemper is getting a double dose of Dallas this season, which suits him just fine.
The bridge sportswear designer was the star of the annual St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon and Style Show sponsored last month by The Gazebo, and he’ll take center stage again during market week as the Group III guest designer.
“I have a very good business down here, and I wanted to give something back,” said a buoyant Kemper before the style show. “Texas women really are into clothes. People really dress here, so this is one of my hubs.”
Indeed, the event drew 650 meticulously dressed women to the Great Hall of the International Apparel Mart for a benefit for the North Texas Chapter of the Leukemia Society of America. The party is always good for fashion voyeurs — they eyed more dresses (especially chemises and tailored wrap styles) and pantsuits than in years past. But suits still ruled.
Kemper, whose spring collection climaxed the show with models teetering down the runway on 5-inch heels, is edging forward with his styling.
“It’s getting a lot more fitted,” he said. “I’m interested in doing hip designer clothes that aren’t too scary.”
What he’s doing is working. Sales climbed to $15 million last year, with a 10 percent gain expected in 1995. He tries to keep retail prices per piece below $400.
What to expect from Kemper for fall: rich colors, especially dark red; Chinese and other international influences; skinny suits with below-the-knee skirts; some skirts with fullness, and little sweaters.