BELVEST BRANCHES OUT: Belvest, the Italian men’s made-to-measure suit manufacturer, is introducing its first women’s collection.
Made up of coats, suits and dresses, the line will be available for spring 2001 retailing. Sales appointments will begin next week with Elizabeth Burpoe, women’s sales manager, at the Belvest showroom at 5 East 57th St., 21st floor. The line will also be unveiled with a press showing on Aug. 1.

COLLECTION ADDITIONS: Victor Costa is taking the first step toward growth since Couture Fashions Inc. acquired the brand in August. Beginning with its fall collection, Costa added petite and plus sizes to the eveningwear line.
The styles will be based upon looks from the core Victor Costa Collection. Petite silhouettes include dresses with cropped jackets, velvet jackets with fox collars and coordinating skirts, as well as a brocade cocktail suit with a short jacket. Plus-sized silhouettes include a tunic paired with pants, shirred bodice evening gowns and a cocktail suit with a fox collar.
The core collection and petites will share the same price range of $169 to $395 at wholesale, while plus sizes will be about 15 percent higher.

CASHIN TRIBUTE: The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology has set the dates and sponsors for its retrospective of Bonnie Cashin, a trailblazer in American clothing design.
The exhibition, “Bonnie Cashin, Practical Dreamer,” will look at Cashin as an artist who worked as a designer for nearly 50 years. It will run from Sept. 19 to Jan. 6. Sponsored by Coach, for which Cashin was the first accessories designer, the exhibit will demonstrate how she often combined personal interests like travel with her designs. It will also show how she went from working in her mother’s dressmaking shop to creating ready-to-wear for women who shared her independent thinking.
Cashin opened Bonnie Cashin Design, Inc. in 1953 and won five Coty awards during her career. She retired in the early Eighties and died in February while undergoing heart surgery at the age of 84.

FUR FETE: J. Mendel, a Madison Avenue fur retailer, and American Legend hosted a party in Manhattan on Thursday to formally unveil their new fall ad campaign.
Keeping with the beach theme of the campaign, the party featured a model in a mink bikini and other sheared mink pieces like sweaters and little jackets.
As previously reported, the $2 million campaign, conceived by Laspata/DeCaro, is planned as a satire of Frankie Avalon’s surf soaps like “Muscle Beach Party,” “Beach Blanket Bingo” and “How to Stuff a Wild Bikini.” In the images, Frankie Rayder models Mendel’s mink vests, knitted sweaters, fur blankets and bikinis.

RINGING UP PHILLY: As a tie-in to the Republican National Convention opening in Philadelphia on Monday, Nicole Miller and Verizon Wireless have adapted Miller’s “All Roads Lead to Philadelphia” print as a new cell phone faceplate.
For use on Verizon Wireless Nokia 5100 series phones, the faceplate is being promoted as the “Fusion of Fashion, Phone and Philadelphia.” As part of the political product placement, Miller and Verizon officials have provided the designed phone to Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell, as well as to concierges and managers at key restaurants.

SEVENTH HOUSE WEST: Seventh House public relations is opening an office in Los Angeles next month.
During market appointments, visiting editors to the house at 8751 Appian Way in Laurel Canyon, can use the swimming pool and meeting rooms with a view of the city.
Noelle Lippman and Serene Cicora will staff the office, according to the firm. Prior to her appointment at Seventh House, Lippman worked for Warner Bros. and then as a photographer’s representative and production coordinator. Cicora was a model booker and stylist’s agent.

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