PURPLE SKIRT: CLOTHES FOR REAL THIGHS

Byline: Kristi Ellis

LOS ANGELES — Purple Skirt, the newest fashion dot-com to hit Hollywood, is hung up on size.
That just might give the company the edge it needs on the ultracompetitive super highway.
“Purple Skirt is for real women,” said comedian Tracey Ullman, who is a partner in the new online boutique. “It’s not just for skinny-minnies.”
She pointed out that the site carries up to size 16.
Ullman created the concept with partners Janine Braden, also owner of Fred Segal Flair in Santa Monica, Calif., and Stephanie Cone, a television producer who is chief executive officer of this new venture.
The trio officially launched the e-commerce site — Purpleskirt.com — last November, but hosted a launch party last Thursday. Purple Skirt donated 10 percent of its revenues in the first three months to Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, in memory of Elizabeth Tilberis, the editor of Harper’s Bazaar who succumbed to the disease last year.
Ullman said she has always been a bit addicted to fashion, and she doesn’t stick to one designer.
“I believe in individuality in fashion,” said Ullman. “I like shopping online because I can’t go to malls — they give me a headache.”
With that personal perspective in mind, the online boutique offers eclectic items and unusual styles.
The site, dominated by purple, black and white, is clean and uncluttered. Users click on categories such as “clothing-designers,” “accessories” and “focus,” a personal column by Ullman about her favorite items of the month.
The site currently features such designers as William B, Tocca, Katayone Adeli, Single, Staci Woo (handbags), Lily Cheung and Trina Turk.
In the virtual sales bin, there is a knee-length pashmina skirt by William B for $150 and a pony-print beaded pillow by Mauradaniel for $57.
The site also offers fashion advice from entertainment industry stylists, beauty professionals and costume designers, and provides virtual makeovers.
“On the Web, nobody sees your cellulite,” said Ullman. “People are not afraid to say what their real size is.”
Cone noted that the site was targeting women across the U.S. who don’t have the selection that shoppers find in Los Angeles or New York.
“A lot of our sales are from places like the Midwest,” she said.
The name Purple Skirt stems from a real purple skirt that Cone owned but lost when a dry cleaner burned down.
“It’s like a Phoenix that’s risen from the ashes,” said Ullman.
According to the trio, sales are steady. Cone projects a first-year volume of $1 million.
“Sometimes the site will sell something better than I sell at Fred Segal Flair,” said Braden.
Dressed in a Gucci logo top, a Katayone Adeli skirt and Prada shoes at the party, actress Jennifer Tilley called herself “computer illiterate,” but is still anxious to get on the Web.
“There is all of this fabulous shopping to be had, and I keep hearing about all these sites where you can get vintage clothes,” said Tilley. “My sister is coming to my house tomorrow to speed up my modem.”
Tilley noted that she had just finished doing a movie — “Dancing at the Blue Iguana” — in which she played a stripper.
“I got into a whole other area of clothing,” she said. “I got into the Playboy T-shirts and the HotPants and I realized a really important thing: I’m a kinda heavy girl and I always thought if you wear layers, it makes you look slimmer.
“But the less you wear, the skinnier it makes you look.”

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