ADELI’S NEW 2SOME

Byline: Miles Socha

NEW YORK — Two seems to be Katayone Adeli’s lucky number.
That’s the name of her new secondary line, 2 by Katayone Adeli, and also her new jeanswear line, 2 Jeans by Katayone Adeli, both of which make their debuts for fall.
“The collection became so exclusive, expensive and detail-oriented that I didn’t want to leave any customers behind,” Adeli explained in an interview at her spare, sunlit showroom here. “This is something that is very needed, and I think the customer has been hungry for it. Customers may buy one $3,000 cashmere coat, but you also need clothes to knock around in.”
Adeli launched her signature label four years ago and swiftly attained a reputation for low-slung pants, sleek tops and sculpted leathers, all with a hip, downtown sensibility. But recently, the designer repositioned her collection as a luxury brand and risked alienating some of her customers with price points that have been creeping into four digits. For fall, retail prices range from about $300 to $600 for knitwear, $250 to $700 for trousers and up to $1,500 to $3,000 for leather coats and jackets.
By contrast, knits in the 2 line range from $120 to $350, pants from $120 to $220 and leather pieces from $575 to $800. Items in 2 Jeans range from $80 for tops up to $230 for jackets. Jeans are $120 to $150.
Adeli described the customer for her new diffusion lines as the cool, downtown girl who needs “live-in kind of clothes” for work and leisure.
Of course, the segmentation is also a way to increase her sales and reach. Adeli said she expects sales this year to grow in excess of 25 percent with the new lines, which will be carried in a larger number of doors than her collection. Adeli’s wholesale volume in 1999 reached about $18 million.
Adeli said her designs can now be displayed on several floors in large stores. Barneys New York, for example, plans to house the collection on the fifth floor, the diffusion line on seven and the 2 Jeans brand on eight.
“We definitely have an opportunity to do more business,” stressed Judy Collinson, executive vice president and general merchandise manager at Barneys. “The Katayone jeans line is perfect for our casual Co-op floor.”
Daphne Pappas, vice president and divisional merchandise manager of contemporary and private-brand sportswear at Saks Fifth Avenue, also praised Adeli’s segmentation strategy as a way to bring her “edgy, downtown” aesthetic to a broader audience.
“There’s definitely a need for more of that type of product in the contemporary area. I think it looks good,” she said. “Between the denim and a lot of the items, it’s right on the trends for the fall season.”
Adeli said both new diffusion lines can be worn together, but she separated jeans and T-shirts as a separate label, envisioning them housed in areas where such items are folded.
Not that she would ever describe the line as basic.
“I find a lot of secondary lines to be almost too basic,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be. It can still be funky and fashionable. This is still a very cool customer.”
The 2 line includes leather bomber jackets with knitted collars, colorful speckled melange sweaters, moleskin pants with horizontal pockets and trim coats in wide-wale corduroy. Among the items in 2 Jeans are sherpa-lined denim jackets and jeans in baby blue, gray and brown denim.

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