BUCHMAN SETS UP SHOP

Byline: SHARON EDELSON

NEW YORK — In a new retail venture, Liz Claiborne Inc. is planning to open its first Dana Buchman store. It is a 2,800-square-foot unit that will open at 65 East 57th St. here in September.
Dana Buchman, who designs the collection with Karen Harman, said additional stores are being considered, but there are no immediate plans. Claiborne said it will evaluate locations as they become available.
The company already operates stores bearing the Liz Claiborne and First Issue names, as well as outlets.
Claiborne’s fast-growing, seven-year-old Buchman division, which specializes in classic bridge sportswear for career women, is sold in 914 department and specialty stores.
In the past three years, the collection has tripled its volume to $90 million, according to the company.
Buchman would not project a volume for the new store, which is scheduled to open Thursday, Sept. 8, adjacent to the Four Seasons Hotel.
The new store, coupled with a fragrance the company expects to launch next spring, could bring Buchman even broader recognition. The company is also considering designing casual sportswear and offering categories such as shoes, accessories and hosiery.
“We’ll test new products [at the store] that we don’t want to send out across the country,” Buchman said. “A lot of times we’ll have great things, but we don’t want to ship across the country, because they may not be conservative enough for middle America.” The new store will be staffed by wardrobe specialists trained by Buchman and Harman, and will provide free hemming and shipping, spacious dressing rooms and coffee.
“We’re trying to think of what it takes to make shopping a great experience,” Buchman said.
With its hand-washed gold and ocher walls, bronze metalwork and front door of etched glass, the store will house the entire Buchman collection of bridge sportswear, dresses, petites and misses’ sportswear. Prices for the collection range from $150 for blouses to $320 for jackets. Pants are about $180.
“The store has the feeling of a home with tiny individual boutiques so we can present the personality of the collection,” said Buchman. “We’re excited to show the designs the way they were conceived.”

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