FOLLOWING, A ROUNDUP OF THE LATEST AND GREATEST LOOKS TO HIT THE MART.
Byline: Subira Shaw / Georgia Lee
MICHELLE HARRISON & ASSOCIATES
Spencer Jeremy Evening/Spencer Jeremy Day
From the multiline New York firm HMS Productions comes a new division of evening dresses to complement the company’s daytime dress series.
Wholesaling between $79 and $149, Spencer Jeremy Evening targets the same 25-and-older customer as its daytime counterpart. “We give the bridge customer the quality and design of bridge at a better price point,” said Alice Katz, national sales manager for Spencer Jeremy Evening.
Size 4-16 silhouettes include ruffled blouses in silk/satin organza, beaded gowns in lace burnout, and mother-of-the-bride jacket/dress ensembles in brocade.
Spencer Jeremy Day offers for fall lace suits and nylon/viscose knit dresses with ruffle detailing. Wholesale prices run $49 to $89.
HMS Productions projects a total volume of $75 million wholesale by year’s end.
WARD & WARD
This 2 1/2-year-old bag, belt and top collection, created by twentysomething Monique Moizet, is known for its whimsical use of materials like fake fur and Astroturf.
The young contemporary Los Angeles firm, targeting 15-to-35-year-olds, recently upgraded its design approach.
“About six months ago, we started kicking up the technology and using a different printing process,” said vice president of sales Marc De Longeville. “We’ve also widened our scope of resources to achieve a more unique look,” he said.
The results show in the latest colorful offerings. Handbags, $15 to $45 wholesale, include sequin-trimmed cloth hobo styles and totes with designs inspired by abstract art and ads from the Fifties; many are reversible. Belts, $20 to $50 wholesale, feature suede and leather straps with fringed ends, and a group of top-stitched leather styles with brass buckles bows this season. Among the “tops” in Topsy Turvy, running $18 to $21 wholesale, are polyester, rayon and Lycra blend shirts emblazoned with “Moulin Rouge”-themed graphics and stretch lace V-necks with rose and heart prints.
Topsy Turvy has about 600 accounts in Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Henri Bendel and other specialty stores.
Blue Ice/Blue Ice Jeans
What a difference 13 years make.
The powers behind Miami-based Blue Ice recently decided to reengineer the blouse-pants motif guiding the misses’ collection since its 1989 inception. In addition to making the line younger with more contemporary styling, and softer with the infusion of knitwear, owner Robert Knyper is introducing a new jeans group this fall.
Suggestions from individuals at the firm’s New York buying office, Greggor Simmons, were instrumental in stimulating the changes, said national sales manager Gregg Schneider.
“The direction of the market has become more casual,” said Schneider. “And people are more conscious of what they wear when they travel.”
Size 2-18 silhouettes come largely in comfort-based, European novelty fabrics like stretch gabardine and cashmere. They include boot-cut studded leather pants and cashmere jeans-style jackets. Prices run $29-$185 wholesale.
While Blue Ice continues to offer its signature blouses and pants to a target consumer between 28 and 58 years old, the line has now expanded to the status of a lifestyle collection.
Blue Ice Jeans is a bottom-driven group of stretch pieces with related knits. For fall, the line will offer boot-cut jeans and modified motorcycle jackets in solids and prints recalling Andy Warhol’s paintings and Italian frescoes.
Wholesale prices run from $29 to $129. The sales volume for Blue Ice is estimated at $7 million wholesale for yearend; the volume for Blue Ice Jeans is projected at $2 million wholesale.
With a 1994 debut marked by simple and feminine dresses, this contemporary line has since tweaked its styling for a more sophisticated look. The New York-based Tocca targets a customer base between 25 and 50 years old.
The lifestyle collection includes evening and specialty coat groups, all designed with the same clean tailoring and emphasis on embroidery and prints. For fall, silhouettes use printed silks and wool jersey as well as heavier wool weights. Examples include T-shirts with lace insets, plaid A-line skirts trimmed in rickrack, wool pants in a sparkly pinstripe, and knee-length coats. Wholesale prices run from $68 for a skirt to $250 for a coat.
Tocca has 150 specialty and department store accounts nationwide.
CHARLIE & PAULA SHIELDS
Failing to find the right jackets to stock in her San Francisco boutique, Firuze Hariri decided to make them herself in 1998. So began Beluva, a line of novelty jackets with a new group of coordinates.
Beluva is aimed at a contemporary consumer 30 to 45 years old. Averaging $110 wholesale, most of the blazer-style pieces are made from reversible cotton/rayon and wool/rayon blends. Floral and bamboo prints are among the newer styles, along with a hip-length French houndstooth jacket in wool and a herringbone body with a mandarin collar.
To round out the collection and address her customers’ merchandising needs, Hariri will introduce solid silk knit tops, about $34 wholesale, and wool gabardine pants, about $74 wholesale, in clean-front and low-waist silhouettes for fall. Colors like “brick” and “eggplant” are dyed to match those found in the weaves of the line’s core items. Sizes are XS-L for jackets, 2-14 for pants and S-XL for knits.
Hariri, who still runs her store, feels she has an inside track on the ebbs and tides of her industry.
Beluva has 700 accounts, chiefly with specialty stores, and an expected sales volume of $2 million wholesale in 2002.
AMBROSIA & CO. 9N104
Anne Klein New York/AK Anne Klein
Two of the biggest names in the bridge world, Anne Klein and Elie Tahari, are now in AmericasMart, at Ambrosia & Co. showroom.
Anne Klein New York/AK Anne Klein
Never shown before in Atlanta, Anne Klein will offer two lines: Anne Klein New York and AK Anne Klein, the lower-price secondary collection.
The relaunch reflects the vision of new management put in place during the past year. John Idol, formerly with DKNY, is the new ceo. Charles Nolan, late of Ellen Tracy, is now Anne Klein’s designer.
The Anne Klein New York line offers felt and leather, with tricolor scallop-edged skirts. Suede and leather, plaids and tweeds feature traditional cuffed full trousers or Prince of Wales blazers, and cabled cashmere sweaters. Feminine touches include ballet-neck tops and lace pants in paper bag silhouettes. A bestseller has been a fireman’s coat in cotton moleskin.
At an average wholesale cost of $100, prices go up to $350 for special pieces.
AK Anne Klein features more denim for fall, in narrow “stiletto” silhouettes. A-line skirts and low-rise distressed leather pants are prominent, paired with paisley print blouses. At wholesale prices from $24.50 for jeans, $45-$60 for bottoms and jackets around $100, the line hangs with better lines such as Lauren and Sigrid Olsen.
Both lines are targeting more specialty store business. “The product is clean, good and warrants the specialty store distribution,” said a spokeswoman.
While the Tahari line of suits still exists, the sportswear collection, named Elie Tahari a year ago, will be shown in Atlanta.
The line is constantly upgrading, while maintaining sharp prices, said Deanna Cunneen Berkeley, director of sales. Using the same fabrics from Italian mills as Gucci and Prada, Elie Tahari maintains bridge prices by taking lower markups and spending very little on advertising. Wholesale prices are around $197 for a jacket, and $98 for pants.
“We sharpened our pencils to maintain a price-value association that everyone can see,” said Cunneen Berkeley.
For fall, romantic trends continue in soft blouses and ruching details, but blouses are paired with men’s wear, such as cuffed, tweed trousers. Feminine touches include lace for day and evening, layering and bias-cut flowing skirts. Crocheted knits lend a bohemian feeling.
Early fall deliveries feature clean lines and silhouettes, a la Jackie O, that mix fabrics and texture. Later deliveries, under the theme “Almost a Lady,” evoke Faye Dunaway’s sexy gangster style in “Bonnie and Clyde.” And for October deliveries, holiday looks are poetic, with corsets and maxi-length skirts.
Cunneen Berkeley said the time is right to go after more specialty business, with limited distribution so the line doesn’t become too saturated. She also added that the line was more tailored to regional markets, with lightweight fabrics, such as sueded cotton, that look luxurious.