FIELD, PURPLESKIRT IN DEAL

Byline: Valerie Seckler

NEW YORK — Purpleskirt.com is poised to announce today it has entered into a buying agreement with New York designer, retailer and “Sex and the City” stylist Patricia Field.
Field is already busy shopping for accessories for Purpleskirt, the site launched in November 1999 by comedian Tracey Ullman, Hollywood producer Stephanie Cone, and Jeannine Braden, a Hollywood stylist and owner of Fred Segal Flair. The Web site offers a range of apparel and accessories from design houses such as Marc Jacobs, Katyone Adeli, William B., and Cacharel.
“As fashion has become more important in TV and film, we are trying to make the [viewpoints] of Hollywood stylists and costume designers available to people in Middle America,” Cone said Thursday. “We’re not only going to have Patricia buy for the site; we’ll also buy Patricia Field items from her. This is her first foray into buying for someone online and in late February we will begin to merchandise her items on the site.
“We made a connection with her during a buying trip to New York a few months ago, and we kept talking and ultimately decided to work together,” said Cone. “There’s a long-term incentive provision in the arrangement [that means] Field will probably own a piece of the company someday.”
The pact with Field is the first of several that Purpleskirt hopes to ink with the entertainment crowd this year. Currently, Purpleskirt works with make-up artist Tina Earnshaw, hairstylist-to-the-stars Luke O’Connor, and costume designer Shay Cunliffe, all of whom contribute content to the site such as make-over advice and beauty and styling tips.
About half of Purpleskirt’s sales are produced by apparel, the balance by accessories, a mix that is expected to continue this year. The average transaction on the contemporary fashion site is $150, Cone said, with prices starting at $35 and going up to about $500.
Although she declined to divulge sales or cash flow figures, Cone did say that Purpleskirt was “breaking even in October, November and December.” She added, “We hope to become profitable during the fourth quarter of 2001.”

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