PELLE PELLE MAKES THE MOVE
AFTER TESTING IT ON THE MEN’S RUNWAYS, DESIGNER MARC BUCHANAN IS INTRODUCING A WOMEN’S OUTERWEAR COLLECTION FOR FALL.
Byline: Elena Romero
NEW YORK — After 23 years in the men’s apparel business, Pelle Pelle has decided to jump into women’s.
“We’ve always wanted to get into the women’s market,” said Anthony Murphy, vice-president of merchandising and product development at Pelle Pelle, based in Auburn Hills, Mich. “We wanted to get into it with what we do best, which is outerwear. It’s the next evolution to our brand.”
According to Murphy, Pelle Pelle will initially launch eight styles that include leather outerwear and coordinating leather pants. The eight styles will be under the Marc Buchanan and Pelle Pelle labels, with Marc Buchanan priced below the signature line at a better price point.
Both lines will be sold through select Pelle Pelle accounts, such as Chicago’s The Lark stores, City Blues in Philadelphia and Donna Sac’s stores in Detroit.
“While doing the 7th on Sixth shows, we’ve tested the waters and have gotten a great response from our critics,” Murphy said. “These offerings will actually be a teaser.”
Buchanan gave his audiences a glimpse of what his women’s collection could be like at some previous runway shows, featuring leather pants with rhinestones, leather bustiers and crocodile leather, which received accolades from the crowd.
His fans can only anticipate more of the same as he introduces fall 2001. Among the key looks are a three-quarter length burnished lamb jacket with a fur collar that is offered with matching bottoms; a quilted waist jacket; a leather blazer; a three-quarter-length quilted hoodie with fur trim collar, and burnished jeans with a matching jacket. Leather pants will wholesale for about $60 to $100, and outerwear in the $150 to $400 range.
“We’re definitely in a leather cycle,” said Murphy. “It’s sexy and has a definite status image to it. It won’t ever be out of style.”
Murphy added that the small assortment will target the female version of a Pelle Pelle customer.
“It will be primarily for the 18-to-25 market, as well as the 25-plus,” he said. “It’s for the career woman who likes to go out and play, and when she does, she plays hard. She drinks the finest wine, eats at the best restaurants and can possibly be an entrepreneur.”
Murphy said the Pelle Pelle customer is into “aspirational” buying, has an eye for quality and finds fit to be key. Pelle has broadened its size scale to include half sizes, to accommodate women of all body types.
Due to scheduling conflicts, Pelle has decided not to do a 7th on Sixth show this season, and instead will launch its women’s line at a fashion show at House of Blues on Valentine’s Day during MAGIC International in Las Vegas.
“The women’s market is looking for challenges and for companies to take more risks,” added Murphy. “That doesn’t differ from the urban men’s market. While there are a lot of players, they want a brand that makes them look different.”
The Show of Showrooms
Who ever said bigger isn’t always better, obviously wasn’t referring to showrooms. Enyce, a wholly owned subsidiary of Fila SpA, and Ecko Unlimited have decided to take bigger spaces to accommodate their growth.
Unlike Enyce, Ecko has decided to keep its New York showroom at 1350 Broadway for its newest division, Physical Science (better known as Phys Sci) and moved its Ecko showroom to nearby 1369 Broadway.
“We looked at a bunch of different spots and felt that we wanted to find a location that didn’t have 20 brands,” said designer Marc Ecko. “We wanted something big enough for us to grow into and be one of the only apparel companies in the space.”
For Ecko, the new space can accommodate both his EckoRed women’s division and young men’s line.
“Mechanically, it made sense. It’s across the street,” he said. “We’ve built an internal stairwell and have access to the roof, where we can possibly have a cafe or hold events.”
The design of the showroom was done primarily in-house. All the furniture was hand-picked by Ecko from places like Midtown’s DDC and Format in SoHo, as well as custom pieces imported from Italy.
“We wanted something with a sense of modernness and still have the quirkiness of the company,” Ecko said.
Women’s has been designated for a full floor of the three-level space. Ecko anticipates the EckoRed division to ring up $30 million in sales this year.
Meanwhile, Enyce has relocated from its 8 West 40th Street location to Fila’s old showroom space at 40 East 34th Street. The location was redesigned by Lando Felix, vice-president of design and production at Enyce, along with a Seattle-based design company.
Similar to the old Enyce space, this location utilizes metals, stones and an earth tone color palette. However, this site is about twice the size and provides room for a sleek conference room and a roomier sales presentation.
Greed Girl Again
Streetwear company Kik Wear is relaunching Greed Girl after discontinuing the line about a year ago.
“We were getting a lot of requests for Greed Girl at the January Boutique Show, via e-mails and from my West Coast customers,” said Lorraine Getz, who currently codesigns Kik Wear’s technical junior line Kik Girl and who now is also the head designer of Greed Girl. “We discussed it here and decided to relaunch it.”
In 1998, the company, which specialized in men’s wear, launched Kik Girl and found that it became extremely difficult to do two lines, according to Getz.
“We will be showing back-to-school at the February ASR show in Long Beach,” said Alex Berenson, president of Greed Girl and Kik Wear Industries. “We plan on plugging this line in specialty stores and chains and turning it into a multimillion-dollar division the first year.”
“Our first season, we’ll be really concentrating on pants, skirts, dresses and tops, and we will probably introduce sweaters and some outerwear for holiday,” Berenson said.
He said Greed Girl will be more of a fitted, low-waisted, sexy collection, while Kik Girl will remain more technical and loose fitting.
“Greed Girl accentuates the curves in a woman’s body,” he said. “It’s really all about having a very sexy appeal. She’s a self-confident girl and someone who doesn’t have any inhibitions and likes to show off a little bit.”
Berenson said the line will consist of about 20 cut-and-sewn pieces and six-to-12 screen-printed Ts. Items will include slim-fitting pants, sexy and athletic-style tops and dresses and drawstring skirts and pants. The fall collection will feature stretch and novelty denims, stretch twills and a vintage striped print.
“We’ve gotten several commitments from retailers, including Mr. Rags, Becker Surf and Commander Salamander,” he said.
Berenson said Greed Girl will compete against surf and street brands such as Roxy and 26Sugar. Greed Girl wholesale price range on tops is $9 to $16; dresses, pants and skirts will range from $16 to $27.
Kik Wear, which recently announced that it was launching footwear, also has plans to introduce a juniors collection of footwear in late 2001 or early 2002.