Byline: Lisa Lockwood

NEW YORK — They might not carry all the Italian diffusion lines, but retailers here seem more than pleased with the ones they do buy.
“Le Collezioni [from Armani] and Cheap and Chic are both doing very well. Le Collezioni is having its best season ever,” said Kal Ruttenstein, vice president and fashion director of Bloomingdale’s.
“We’re doing especially well with Versace Jeans Couture,” he noted, as well as the Moschino Jeans line. “We have substantial orders for spring in all of these lines.”
Joseph Boitano, executive vice president and general merchandise manager of Bergdorf Goodman, said the store “is not a big diffusion line store,” but had success with Moschino’s Cheap and Chic and D&G. “Cheap and Chic did very well [for fall]. It’s a very strong business for us. It takes the essence of the couture collection and puts it in a very salable price range.”
Boitano said he had increased the spring budget for it.
“D&G has been good,” added Boitano. “We’re planning a big push for spring for it.”
Joan Kaner, senior vice president and fashion director of Neiman Marcus, said, “Cheap and Chic is going to lead the way. It’s the look of the designer at lesser price points than the couture collection. The make is very good, and it has a lot of design integrity.”
Neiman’s is also doing very well with Le Collezioni, but Kaner pointed out, “It sells more to a designer customer than a diffusion customer.”
She also noted the store had done nicely with Alberta Ferretti’s Philosophy line and had high marks for Versace Jeans Couture. For spring, Neiman’s might add D&G and Ferré .0001.
Nicole Fischelis, vice president and fashion director at Saks Fifth Avenue, said the store was scoring with Miss V and Le Collezioni.
“Le Collezioni is a growing business. It’s a core vendor, and an extremely profitable business. We carry it in 26 stores on the designer floor,” she said.
She noted that the Miss V line was in the Valentino ready-to-wear department. “It’s not hurting the Valentino business at all.”
Saks will add D&G and G Gigli to its New York flagship this spring and might expand them to the branches.
“They both have the spirit of the designer, and they’re for the younger customer,” said Fischelis. “We also love Cheap and Chic. It’s whimsical, colorful and wearable.”
Henri Bendel carries Le Collezioni in its units in Boston and in Columbus, Ohio.
“It’s part of our designer mix. It’s doing really well,” said Louise Evins, vice president and general merchandise manager of Henri Bendel. She noted that each season the stores “keep boosting the order.”
“There’s no price resistance. They’re merchandised more by color grouping and have added more pieces per season, and the flow keeps bringing newness to the stores.”

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