Byline: Holly Haber

What’s old is new again at Linda Segal. Paintings by Botticelli, Renoir and da Vinci are some of the images gracing Segal’s new contemporary line, which is owned and produced by Creative Image Associates of Los Angeles.
“I like the theme of art to wear,” said Segal, whose design studio is in Houston. “It’s like an artist series, and there are no limitations.”
Segal’s association with Creative Image has given her the freedom to style much more updated styles than her previous line. Since 1981, she has made a variety of women’s apparel under the label Linda Segal for Ashley, from $1600 suits in the early Eighties to the better-priced sportswear she produced in the late Nineties. She and Mike Ferguson, who became her business partner in 1998, agreed to close the company in September 2000.
By chance, Segal met Bernie Gardner, a principal of Creative Image, at a Los Angeles fabric show, where the two saw a painting by California artist Barbara A. Wood. They both instantly envisioned printing Wood’s romantic pictures on fabric.
“We looked at each other and said, ‘We’ve got to do it,”‘ she said, “and before I knew it, we were.”
Within six months, the pair had contracted the artist to reproduce her art and went to work last October styling T-shirts and sportswear with the images. After the first couple of seasons, Segal branched into broader territory, including Pop Art and computer-generated prints laminated with clear foil rectangles. All of the fabrics are stretch knits in rib, velour or ottoman textures made of polyester, nylon, cotton and spandex. Many are exclusive to Segal’s label.
Silhouettes for spring include a short straight skirt, a sleeveless cowlneck top with an open back joined by three string ties, a twist-front three-quarter-sleeve top with a flesh-revealing slash and a sleeveless mock turtleneck. Each bears a print, some of which are embellished with heat-set metallic glitter.
Shown in Dallas at Navia-Plott, the line wholesales from $39 to $49 for tops and skirts to $89 for a jumpsuit. Stores that have placed orders include BB1 Classic and Tootsies, both in Houston.
Linda Segal for Creative Image Associates, the new label, should hit $1 million in first-year sales, said Gardner, who owns Creative Image with his partner, Howard Klein.
“I was a senior vice president of merchandising at Catalina and my partner has a manufacturing background so between the three of us, it’s almost like a match made in heaven,” Gardner said. “She’s got a following and this is a whole new look for Linda, but people still want to see what she’s doing. We’ve taken the production headaches from her so she’s got a chance to do what she’s always wanted, which is be creative.”
The designer enthusiastically echoed Gardner, saying she’s never been happier because she is strictly a designer in this new venture — not a partner — and she has no responsibilities for production or shipping.