Byline: Georgia Lee
The following lines are new in town. All are at AmericasMart, except where noted.
Aliki Yamani Creations, 10S116B
After eight years with reps at AmericasMart, Aliki Yamani Creations, based in Sarasota, Fla., opened a showroom last August. “We saw it as a method of getting our own identity,” said designer Aliki Yamani.
The eight-year-old design house is composed of a core line of hand-painted silk creations and a newly added line of raw silk knits, Aliki Studio.
Mix-and-match hand-painted pieces and corresponding solids, wholesaling for $100 to 150 per piece, are created in the company’s factory in Zheijiang, China. “We have 30 artisans who work on every aspect of the production, ensuring a quality product,” said Yamani.
Each hand-painted design is limited to approximately 1,500 pieces. Silhouettes are available in generously cut sizes S, M, L and XL. “The lightweight fabric drapes beautifully for a very fluid look,” she explained.
The newer Aliki Studio line comprises coordinating separates in solid-colored raw silks. “The studio line is a moderate line with clean styling,” said Yamani. “The raw silk looks like linen, but is softer and doesn’t wrinkle.”
Pieces in the studio line, also sized S, M, L, XL, wholesale for $50 for three pieces. “It is ammunition against the Wal-Marts and other mass retailers that offer less-expensive separates.”
The company is constantly expanding to offer more selection for its buyers. Yamani explained, “We are so excited by the new division because we’re able to do more things for the same customer by offering more selection, reinventing ourselves and providing better service.”
Sharon Young, 9S116B
The Craig Taylor line of classic shirtings harkens back to the traditional Englishman’s handmade shirt, with a meticulous attention to detail rarely found in today’s mass-produced world.
Designer Craig Taylor became fascinated with shirtmaking while working in London and Paris in the Eighties as an automobile stylist and designer. After studying with tailors in shops along London’s Jermyn Street, Taylor launched a women’s shirt line in New York in 1992.
His shirts are all done by hand, in three custom shirt factories that produce six shirts at a time. The Classic Collection is nipped and tucked to the curves of the body for a generous or more body-conscious fit. Fabrics include two-fold Egyptian cotton in solids, stripes, tone-on-tone or specialty weaves. The Special Edition Collection includes textured surfaces and ultra-sheer voiles, Swiss cotton, silk taffeta and Italian cashmere.
Details include die-cut collars with removable stays and genuine mother-of-pearl buttons. Wholesale prices range from $85 to $200. For fall, jewel tones are fashioned into stripes, jacquards and iridescent end-on-ends. For spring 2000, the firm launched a trouser line with a single pleated classic trouser in tropical weight wool and cotton chino.
Don Overcast & Associates 10E112
Kenneth Nolan, New York, now in its second season, addresses the need for good day-to-dinner dresses. The 100-piece collection is designed by Kenneth Nolan, formerly with Maggy London.
Nolan describes the line as a bridge between the contemporary and misses’ market.
“It’s easy to do a young, funky bare dress, and it’s easy to do a mature missy dress, but I’m trying to give a misses’ customer updated looks with a twist,” said Nolan. Traditional concepts, such as a shirtwaist silhouette, are updated with three-quarter sleeves, color or unique details.
The line consists of mostly silks, organza and wool crepe for fall. Embellishment is key, from felt appliques to organza ribbons in geometric patterns or retro floral cutouts.
“The dress market has no sense of fun, or whimsy,” said Nolan. “The dress market needs to take back dresses from the sportswear market by addressing trends and adding newness.”
The Albert Nipon, dress and suit collection is back in the AmericasMart after a four-year absence.
The New York-based line, famous for its Nolan Miller “Dynasty” collection a decade ago, has updated considerably. Suits constitute 95 percent of the 60-style collection, which also includes a small group of jacket dresses. Special sizes include petites 2 to 14, and a new large-size collection includes size 14 to 24. Wholesale prices range from $155 to $200 for daytime suits and $200 to $300 for special occasion.
Suits have become more relaxed, with updated neck treatments in addition to traditional notch-collar silhouettes. Sheath dresses and longer jackets have also performed well. While maintaining a misses’ fit, the line now includes more novelty and contemporary styling.
Fabrics have broadened to include houndstooth and chenille tweeds, tissue-weight crepes and double-faced wool in bright colors for fall. The fall line also includes more pantsuits.
Despite an overall decline in demand for suits, Albert Nipon fills a need for good daytime suits that is particularly strong among Southeast customers. Dressy looks that work for mother-of-the-bride, such as a three-piece suit with beaded jacket in soft colors, were bestselling spring looks.
“The region has many church events and social occasions, and women in the Southeast are not color shy,” said Melissa Jones, account executive. “We’ve made our suits multipurpose, for a variety of needs.”
Terry Reynolds, 11W127
Wild Root is a new import division of The Lucia Apparel Group, a Winston-Salem, N.C., upper-moderate manufacturer with three labels, as well as private label and custom-service operations.
An updated lifestyle collection, is a significant departure for Lucia, positioned as a separate entity with its own designer and sales force.
“The line is fashionable, flowing and forgiving,” said Doug Frank, vice president, sales. Frank emphasized that while the line could hang with Johnny Was or Blue Cactus, Wild Root has a distinctive personality. And with a Celtic-goddess logo, natural fibers and romantic design, Wild Root is definitely leaning toward spiritual associations.
“We’re aiming for boutiques interested in going in a more artsy, special direction,” he said.
Merchandised as a collection, with five groups of 15 pieces each, Wild Root includes a sweater group that ties in with core pieces.
While offering a misses’ fit, styling is relaxed yet contemporary. Silhouettes include long, layered dresses, cropped pants, short skirts over pants, three-quarter-length-sleeved shirts and hooded tops and reversible jackets. Colors are romantic, with names like “leaf” “morning” and “sanguine.” Details include appliques, lace and embroidery. Wholesale prices range from $24 to $69.
Launched in January, the new line has generated over $1 million during the first quarter, with a first-year sales projection of between $3.5 and $4 million.
“Unlike many start-up lines, we have strong backing of a $30 million, well-established company, so we can execute well, with great customer service,” said Frank.
Earl jeans, a Los Angeles denim manufacturer, opened its first regional showroom at AmericasMart in January.
The high-end jeans line, priced from $42 to $54 wholesale, is manufactured domestically, using ring-spun denim in a variety of washes and treatments.
“We’re a Helmut Lang-meets-Wrangler,” said Suzanne Costas Freiwald, co-owner. “We’re design-oriented, but also a denim-driven brand. The line has caught on with upscale specialty retailers, including Fred Segal, Barneys, Neiman Marcus and Saks.”
Freiwald is counting on a return to classics and basics, to counter the prevalence of embellished jeans last year.
Limited distribution adds to the appeal of Earl. Freiwald started as a cottage operation, peddling low-rise jeans to Los Angeles boutiques in 1996. “The time was ripe for low-rise jeans, which have become a classic now,” she said. Today, the line has approximate sales of between $16 and $20 million.
The line consists of 12 to 15 pieces of basic denim, with 10 to 12 fashion pieces, including T-shirts, a western shirt and related separates. New for fall are “wear” washes that simulate a worn look. Freiwald is also experimenting with “whisker” treatments that give a worn look around the crotch. Non-denim items include slim twill pants, fine cotton T-shirts and thermal pieces.