Byline: Leonard McCants

A shakeup in the rtw category has left dress giant Liz Claiborne, which retains the number-one position, the only top 10 brand to hold onto the same ranking it held on the last survey.
The apparel behemoth, whose expertise is in better-priced sportswear, in February 2000 licensed its Liz Claiborne dress and Elisabeth plus-sized dress collections to The Leslie Fay Co.
The Kathie Lee Collection and Jones New York Dress also held onto their top-10 standings, but Kathie Lee dropped one slot to number three, while Jones New York Dress tumbled to number nine from the number-three spot.
Bill Blass stormed into the number-two slot this season after not appearing in the top 10 in the last survey. Since the hiring of Lars Nilsson last year and Herve Pierre in April as designers of the American suit and dress powerhouse, the brand has regained its appeal. Oleg Cassini, who has several new licensed collections due in stores within the next year, appears twice in the top 10, once at number seven and again at number 10, for his now-defunct Black Tie/Oleg Cassini line, which seems to still have legs since shuttering in 1999. Another extinct brand, After Five, lives on at the number-eight position, showing that consumers don’t forget a brand so quickly.

Dresses/Suits/Eveningwear Top 10
1. Liz Claiborne
2. Bill Blass
3. Kathie Lee Collection
4. Sag Harbor
5. Ann Taylor
6. Talbots
7. Oleg Cassini
8. After Five
9. Jones New York Dress
10. Black Tie/Oleg Cassini

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