Byline: Daniela Gilbert

NEW YORK — Three may be a crowd, but not to Angelo Della Croce.
His new ready-to-wear line — essentially three groupings under one umbrella name — features the work of designers Angel Sanchez, Jeffrey Kong and Omini Leuci. The labels for the tri-part collection will read Angelo Della Croce by either Sanchez, Kong or Leuci.
Having represented designer firms such as Loro Piana, Tse, Cividini and Conte Bracceschi in the past, Della Croce is looking to put that experience to work for him in this new venture.
With a projection of $12 million in sales for the first year, Della Croce hopes to be in 60 international specialty doors with the first collection. Even with concern about the economy, he feels there’s room for another rtw line, especially if the concept is new.
“I wanted to create a line that truly offered something for everyone, and these three designers, while creating clothes that can be mixed together, have each designed very different-looking collections,” Della Croce said.
Updating and keeping a collection fresh season after season is difficult enough, but Della Croce has a plan: The first designer to hit the $4 million sales mark gets his own collection — still distributed under the Angelo Della Croce name, but with the designer’s name more prominent — and is replaced by another up-and-comer.
“This way, the collection is constantly revolving and will continue to develop over the years,” said Della Croce. “We’ll see how it works. Many of the retailers who have seen the line and know of the concept think it’s an interesting one.”
The result of five years of development with a partner in Rotondi, Italy, just east of Naples, the collection is, according to Della Croce, “many things — young, modern, sexy and eclectic.”
Sanchez, well known for his eveningwear collection, brings “the use of pure color with architectural proportion,” to his first sportswear venture. Some of the pieces where previewed on Sanchez’s fall 2001 runway last week.
“The collection is based on my love for architecture and my new appreciation for Italian craftsmanship,” said Sanchez.
Key pieces include a multipocket leather blazer with matching skirt, as well as bold, colorblocked sweaters and dresses.
Kong, with stints at Iceberg, Ungaro and Alberta Ferretti under his belt, introduced a collection that is a “mix of the Neapolitan style from the Thirties, reversed into a Seventies sensibility,” according to the designer.
Kong’s focus is fabric: wool bird’s-eye jacquards mixed with striped silks, flattened boucles, and silk and wool stretch gabardines. Slim suits are tied at the waist, as is a caramel silk coat, and pants are long, lean and mixed with a variety of knits, as well as stretch shirtings.
Leuci, meanwhile, takes his cue from science, with a “personal journey into the abstract nature of atoms.” As for color, nature is the inspiration, with browns, reds, aquas and golds.
“It’s truly a contrast between raw and refined,” added Leuci, who worked as a creative director for Joseph Abboud’s women’s and home lines.
A prime example: a blouse made of two layers of tulle with mohair sandwiched in between, trimmed in wool jersey at the neck, cuff and hem. In another nod to nature, circle motifs are used throughout the collection, as well in slim zip-up jackets and coats.
Wholesale prices vary from $130 for a knit top to $625 for a leather blazer.
“The real beauty of this line is that the customer will be able to mix and match from the different collections,” offered Della Croce.
“They are three very different sensibilities, but work beautifully together.”

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