Byline: Anne D’Innocenzio

NEW YORK — Sheri Bodell wants membership in the young designer club.
The designer, who had created contemporary sportswear under the label She by Sheri Bodell, is now just using her signature for fall and is taking more of a collection approach. The Sheri Bodell line is also using higher quality fabrics than past collections, such as pearlized leather and lambskin, a move that has increased prices by 30 percent. The average wholesale price is about $98 for fall.
“I was tired of hiding behind my name,” said Bodell. “The time is right to express myself.”
Some of the fall looks that have booked well are patchwork leather pants and micro-miniskirts, each with feathered trims, as well as metallic leather pants and patchwork fox coats, according to Eileen Weber, vice president of sales.
A year and a half ago, Bodell began making steps to help position herself in the young designer zone. That was when Bodell signed a licensing deal with CPI International, the manufacturer of Workers for Freedom men’s wear collection, to produce her collection.
Since the launch of her label in 1997, Bodell had been financed by a junior dress company called City Triangles, owned by Ira Rosenburg.
For fall, Bodell aims to sell to about 250 specialty doors, of which 85 percent is in specialty stores. This spring, Bodell’s collection is being shipped to 150 doors.
Sales are estimated to be $8 million this year, up from last year’s $5 million, according to Weber.
To position the line for growth, Bodell moved into a 2,500-square-foot showroom three months ago at 231 West 39th Street. Previously, she had operated a 1,000-square-foot show space in the same building.
Bodell is also looking to open her fist a store in NoLIta by yearend.
At least one specialty store buyer offered kudos for Bodell’s new fashion direction.
“I really liked her metallic leather pants and the patchwork jackets,” said Karen Lazare, owner of Acacia, Beverly Hills, Calif.
Lazare said she plans to increase her buy for the fall season.