Byline: James Fallon With contributions from Dianne M. Pogoda, New York

LONDON — PSI/Bicci, a New York-based suit and dress manufacturer, has formed a joint venture with Mel Turkel to distribute its collections in Europe.
Turkel, owner of Robert Janan U.K., has been exporting American lines for distribution in Europe since 1989.
The company will start showing the lines at Igedo in Dusseldorf in January and at Premier Collections at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, England, in February. There also will be a London showroom for the collections. Shipping will begin in July for the fall 1995 season, Turkel said.
The joint-venture company, called Bicci U.K., initially will distribute the Bicci by Florine Wachter collection of suits, pantsuits and coatdresses in six locations in the U.K., and three other European countries, including Germany, said Jules Wachter, principal of Bicci. The company might also include selections from its higher-priced PSI line.
The collections, which use mainly wool crepe, gabardine and tweeds in solid colors, are produced in continental Europe, which should ease distribution, Turkel said.
The European competition, including such collections as Jobis and Mansfield, tend to be at higher price points than those of Bicci and PSI, he added. Bicci’s suits will retail in the U.K. for $407 to $489 (250-300 pounds). The company is aiming the collections at better department and specialty stores, Turkel said.
Wachter said the first-season goal for Bicci is to sell about 10,000 units in Europe.
“Over the last few years, I’ve had several sales representatives come to me to bring the lines to Europe,” Wachter said. “But this is more than just an experiment with a rep to see if the line sells. This venture puts us in a position to be represented throughout most of Europe.”
Wachter said one of the biggest challenges will be getting fall samples ready by January, because Europe starts showing fall nearly two months earlier than the U.S.
The Bicci venture follows Turkel’s success in Europe with another American line, Adrianna Papell. He formed a joint venture two years ago to distribute Papell’s silk dresses in Europe and volume has risen to about 10,000 pieces a season in the U.K. alone, at retailers including Harrods.
Papell dresses retail for about $324.37 (199 pounds) in Britain, Turkel said. The line also is distributed in Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium and Holland.
“The joint venture is what has made our success possible because there are no commissions to swell the wholesale prices,” he said. “Everything that comes into the U.K. is shipped to customers with just a normal markup, as in the U.S. That makes us extremely competitive. Bicci will operate in the same way.”

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