KAY UNGER’S LEATHERS: Kay Unger has licensed its first leather outerwear collection to Vericci, the leather outerwear division of Custom Fine Furs, a 75-year-old manufacturer based in St. Louis.
The lambskin line, which bears the Kay Unger label, will open on March 10 to retailers for fall selling, according to Rob Feinberg, president of Kay Unger.
The initial lineup includes 15 styles of wraps, shearlings, bomber jackets and long tie-front jackets with hoods. Trends include embroidered detailing, pearlized finishes and colors such as red and ivory, along with chocolate and black.
The line is priced to wholesale for $275 to $595. Feinberg declined to give a sales projection, but industry sources expect the collection could generate $4 million in first-year business.
Vericci will show the collection in its New York showroom at 525 Seventh Avenue. The firm also produces leather and fur outerwear under a signature label and a small men’s collection called Tallia.

MOUNTAIN MERGER: The Amerex Group and its subsidiary, Gerry Sportswear, said last week they had acquired Moonstone Mountain Equipment, a San Francisco maker of mountaineering equipment, sleeping bags and accessories, from Esprit de Corp.
Moonstone will operate as a separate company under the Gerry Sportswear division, which was acquired by Amerex in 1998. The companies did not release details about pricing and no layoffs are expected.
“Moonstone’s line of premium technical products will complement Gerry’s existing brands, while Gerry will provide Moonstone with additional expertise in sourcing and production and enhanced factory turnaround time and delivery,” said Fred Shvetz, chairman and chief executive officer of Amerex.
Amerex tapped Steven P. McDonald as chief operating officer. Formerly a senior executive at Reebok International Ltd., McDonald will oversee distribution, traffic, logistics and management-information systems.

LEI’S NEW OUTERWEAR: Junior jeans resource LEI has inked a licensing agreement with S. Rothschild & Co. to produce a junior and girls’ outerwear line for fall 2000 called LEI Outerwear.
The new line, which is expected to wholesale from $25 to $55, will be created in conjunction with LEI’s design team and will feature materials such as fleece, wool, polyfill, down and leather. It will be available at retailers where LEI jeans are sold.

NEW HIRE: The Garment Industry Development Corp. has hired Marianna Panoussaki as director of Fashion Exports/New York. She succeeds Gene Cleckley, who moved to London. Panoussaki, who has an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business, was most recently an assistant product manager at Playtex Products Inc.

STYLING WITH GEN ART: The deadline for submissions for Gen Art’s second annual fashion design competition, Styles 2000, has been extended until Friday. The contest was launched last year with an open call for design submissions.
This year’s event will be staged on April 4 at the Metropolitan Pavilion at 125 West 18th Street in Manhattan, where 25 finalists will compete for $5,000 awards in the categories of sportswear, eveningwear, avant-garde, men’s wear and accessories. So far, Gen Art has received more than 150 applications from designers from as far away as Slovenia, Monaco, India and Korea.
Submissions will again be accepted from international designers through fashion schools in Paris, London, New York and Copenhagen and from independent artists and students. IMG Model Management is sponsoring models for a runway event during the competition. Other sponsors of the event are,Shoppingtheworld.
com and iFUSE.

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