Byline: Georgia Lee / Julia Fellers-Green / Subira Shaw

AMBROSIA & Co. 9N104
Johanne Beck
Norwegian-born designer Johanne Beck has launched a line under her own name, after designing for the label Jenny Helene for seven years.
The new bridge-price evening separates collection, produced in Los Angeles, debuted at AmericasMart at Ambrosia & Co. in August with holiday and early spring groups.
At designer/bridge wholesale prices from $250 to $500, the line uses high-quality French fabrics, with elegant embellishment such as Parisian lace, hand-beading and metallic threads. All garments are sewn in-house by the company’s 20 seamstresses.
For spring, the line features key silhouettes, such as a 24-inch lace skirt, lace ankle pants, halters, camisole tops and shawls. Several pieces layer beaded silk lace over silk satin bodies, in unique color combinations, such as lime lace over fuchsia or lilac over green.
Designer Beck said the items can be combined for dressed-up or more toned-down looks. Styling is contemporary, with a misses’ fit, targeting a 25-to-60-year-old woman, in sizes 2 to 16. Produced by parent company H&B Apparel in Los Angeles, the Johanne Beck line projects first-year sales of $1.5 million, according to Rebecca Bacon, vice president, sales and marketing. Accounts include Saks Fifth Avenue and Tootsies in Houston.
Beck will continue to design Jenny Helene, a two-year-old line, also produced by H&B Apparel. A daytime dress and sportswear line, Jenny Helene features printed rayon jerseys and stretch twills in sizes X-small to X-large. Wholesale prices range from $49 to $85 for dresses, five-pocket jeans and slim skirts. Coordinated solids and prints are designed for work and playwear in relaxed California-inspired interpretations, inspired by such lines as Escada, Dolce & Gabbana or Votre Nom.
“The line is for a misses’ customer, at affordable prices,” said Bacon. Jenny Helene is also available at Ambrosia & Co.

Donna Degnan, New York
Launched four years ago, Donna Degnan blends bridge-quality fabrics and workmanship with the trends of the contemporary market and a true misses’ fit. Wholesale prices range from $76 to $160.
“Donna Degnan is for the woman who loves fashion, but is not a trend victim. It’s updated, modern, and we’re really proud of the fit,” said Tania Sterl, associate designer. “Contemporary lines are great, but often the fit is small, closer to juniors.”
Design director Degnan, herself a size 0, designs the line in sizes 0 to 14. For spring, European and Japanese fabrics include cotton and Lycra spandex twill and linen and Lycra or silk and Lycra blends. Prints are big for spring, from stripes and dots to vintage Forties-inspired florals. A stretch sateen group comes in black, white or lilac.
Silhouettes include updated three-quarter-sleeved jackets, sheath dresses and pants in both full and cropped lengths, some with self belts. Skirts are slim or A-line knee-lengths. The key item for summer, said Sterl, is the silk blouse, with ties, in geometric prints. The line also includes a button-down shirt.
The versatile line can work for casual to career, and pieces, such as a sleeveless sheath dress with a jacket, can go from desk to dinner.

Alberto by Alberto Makali
Alberto, a new blouse division of Alberto Makali, New York, debuted here in August. With one-of-a-kind prints, the misses’ line is “for the young and the young at heart,” said sales representative Pat Levine.
Blouses in polyester are manufactured using an ancient Japanese process used for silk, called te/shibori pokibine, that produces a puckered fabric — in popcorn, spike and pleated textures — and vibrant colors. Spring silhouettes include cardigans and tops with various sleeve lengths and necklines. The pieces are colorblocked with intricate designs in bright lime, orange, pink, lavender, purple, yellow and red, some detailed with beading. Popcorn- and spike-textured pieces are sized S-M and M-L, with pleated styles in sizes S, M and L.
Looks, designed to accompany upscale suiting and casual-to-dinner wear, wholesale from $35 to $79, depending on workmanship. Future expansion plans include the spring introduction of dresses in halter, sleeveless and three-quarter sleeve styles.

Launched last February, this Montreal, Quebec-based line — one of 16 divisions of the 50-year-old Imperial Groupe — bowed in Atlanta in August.
The contemporary sportswear collection of related separates focuses on 30-to-50-year-old women, “staying away from a junior market, but offering young appeal and styling,” explained sales and marketing manager, Joanna Barcessat.
Updated styles, in sizes 4 to 16, are available with a “real woman’s” misses’ fit with generous cuts, said Barcessat. Silhouettes — pants, capris, knee-length skirts, blouses, vests and jackets — are available in stretch suede, stretch denim, iridescent stretch Lycra blends and cotton and polyester blends.
Popular spring pieces in the 60-style collection include stretch, two-way color denim capri pants with matching jean jackets and lizard and snakeskin print jackets. Spring features solids colors – lime green, turquoise, fuchsia, coral, lavender, pink and beige, and prints such as paisley, scarf, animal and polkadot. Details on select pieces include attached gold chain belts, two-tone cuffs and heavy topstitching.
Barcessat said that the line — currently with over 200 independent and small chain store accounts — would continue brand-building at a grass roots level by offering affordable, high-quality, classic items that address current fashion trends. Pieces wholesale from $20 for a tank to $75 for a jacket.

Kevo Inc., New York, is launching Ji, a new contemporary knit tops division. In contrast to the Kevo line — known for its middle-of-the-road, misses’ silk-knit tops — Ji is a more updated collection of rayon-based knit tops designed to capitalize on the young contemporary market, said Kevo president Sam Barkin.
Spring tops, many with embroidery, sequins, flocking and ribbing, come in 26 body-conscious silhouettes, including sleeveless, mock turtle, cap sleeve, short sleeve and cardigan styles. Two groups, black and white, and tangerine and seafoam green, are available in sizes S, M, L and XL.
Notable pieces include a “peekaboo” sleeveless sweater with clear plastic straps and a white short-sleeved sweater with sparsely sequined crochet trim. Designed by namesake Tatiana Ji of China, the line will offer two groups quarterly, evolving with cutting-edge fashion trends. Wholesale prices range from $29 for a sleeveless sweater to $44 for a cardigan.

Flores & Flores
This two-year-old New York social occasion collection offers “eveningwear with a sportswear sensibility,” said owner Dan Cohen.
The line, designed by Sully Bonnelly, caters to baby boomers who are in great shape and have a young attitude, said Cohen. Bonnelly, a veteran eveningwear designer, previously designed for Oscar de la Renta, Tahari and Bill Blass Group, and currently produces his own signature designer collection.
Bonnelly brings his strong sense of color to the Flores & Flores line, mixing bright prints and solids — in fuchsia, lime, yellow, orange, white and black — for spring. “Our use of color is a thumbprint that sets us apart. It gives the sportswear consumer a reason to buy for occasion,” said Cohen.
Silhouettes include modern, sleek gowns in bare cuts with coordinating stoles for cover, wholesaling at an average price point of $179. A staple collection of related separates — pleated satin jackets with coordinating bustiers and four-ply silk crepe pants — is one of the line’s bestsellers, wholesaling for $279 for three-pieces. A collection of black crepe dresses with bright satin linings is also a popular seller for dinner dressing.
Pieces are currently available in body-conscious misses’ sizes 2 to 16, with a future possibility of plus sizes. Fabrics include silk, silk crepe, silk chiffon, silk taffeta and knits. The 60-piece spring line is strongly rooted in mixed prints, some with light beadwork. Careful attention to detail — quality, decorative zipper pulls, pleating, satin linings and built-in bras — is another attribute, said Cohen.

N. Julian
Nestor Fernandez, owner of N. Julian, a New York-based suit line launched in June, brings 18 years of experience with Herbert Grossman suits, serving most recently as president, to his latest endeavor. “Retailers are excited to see a quality suit line fill the void left by Herbert Grossman suits,” said Fernandez.
“We deliver the same caliber product, but with a more modern feel,” he added. The misses’ line, in sizes 4 to 18, extends a collection of classic suits with contemporary details, targeting sophisticated women looking for quality construction, quality fabrics and a good fit, said Fernandez.
The spring collection offers two- and three-piece suits, wholesaling from $139 to $229, in custom fabrics and wovens, including worsted wool boucle, silk doupioni, lightweight tweeds, silk and linen blends and rayon blends. Spring looks include a pastel, lightweight tweed jacket with three-quarter-length sleeves and jewel neck, paired with a skirt. Colors range from neutrals — black, tan and ivory — to pastels — blue and pink — to brights — fuchsia, teal and red.

Nitsa, a new division of Woodside, N.Y., manufacturer Damianou, bows in Atlanta this market. The new social occasion collection of separates, suits, cocktail dresses and gowns targets a more youthful customer — 20 to 40 — than Damianou, although many pieces cross over to a mature market.
“I gather inspiration from old Hollywood: Marlene Deitrich with her chiffon dress blowing in the desert wind,” said designer, Luis Liberatto Miranda of his sleek, fluid, often bias-cut silhouettes.
With 133 pieces per collection, body-conscious silhouettes, in sizes 2 to 12, are available in triacetate, chiffon, lace, brocade, mesh, silk doupioni and matte jersey. Spring looks include novelty, antique-beaded georgette pants with feather trim; a Seventies-print matte jersey group, and floor-length, bias-cut chiffon gowns with rhinestone trim. Wholesale prices range from $89 for a bustier to $250 for a floor-length gown.

Pietro Filipi
After seven years in Europe, Prague-based Pietro Filipi, a suiting and sportswear line, is making inroads into the American marketplace, debuting in August in Atlanta and other regional markets. The company offers Pietro Filipi Select, a sophisticated two-piece suiting line, and Pietro Filipi Red, a casual updated sportswear line.
Both collections, designed by Iveta Hendrychova, rely heavily on updated styling and unique, cutting-edge fabrics, including polyester-nylon blends, cotton stretch and Lycra blends.
Pietro Filipi Select targets young, sophisticated 25-to-40-year-olds with day-to-night suiting and career wear. Silhouettes include long and short jackets paired with skirts and pants. The line wholesales from $110 to $130 for two-piece sets.
Pietro Filipi Red targets a younger, hipper woman with trendy, updated silhouettes, including casual cropped drawstring pants, backless halters, blouses and skirts. At wholesale prices $20 to $40 for bottoms and $12 to $30 for tops, items are available in solids and prints — floral and geometric — in green and white, black and orange, tan and red and all-white groups.
Coming off a 30 percent increase in worldwide sales in 1999, the company offers a new alternative for specialty and better department store buyers, said a spokesman. Sizing is European, 36 to 44, which is comparable to U.S. sizes 6 to 14.

Wanda Webb
With an Atlanta showroom and a production facility in Dogwood, Tenn., the Wanda Webb contemporary jewelry line is a Southern original.
The 1997 reintroduction of the handmade collection after an 18-year hiatus indicates the growth of the accessories industry. Designer/owner Webb observes, “Over the last six months, the market is strong again; there’s been a color explosion, which is great for jewelry.”
Moderate-to-better women’s specialty stores carry the sparkling line, which is composed of bangles, cluster bracelets, necklaces and keychains in materials like Austrian crystals, Italian glass beads, and freshwater pearls.
Webb’s most popular items are her novelty charm pieces, made from multicolor glass beads and sterling silver charms, available in bracelets, chokers, and necklaces doubling as eyeglass chains. This group sells as both a custom and wholesale line designed to complement the colors of the merchandise shown by Webb’s retail clients. Wholesale prices range from $5 for earrings to $85 for necklaces. This year’s projected wholesale volume is $250,000.

NINTH FLOOR (showroom to be arranged)
The Invisible Bra
Debuting in August, The Invisible Bra, manufactured by Menina Linda Inc., a Brazilian firm, is a new lingerie application for the American market. Clear silicone straps replace traditional colored straps for a smooth look under sheers and sleeveless silhouettes.
“I saw the bra in Brazil and felt the product was needed here from a problem/solution perspective — today’s clothing asks for this product,” said Sarah Gordon, ceo of the Atlanta-based import company.
Bras, designed and manufactured in Brazil, feature Brazilian lace, silk blend and stretch cotton blend cups — in everyday whites and novelty colors for special occasion — with clear adjustable straps. Targeting lingerie, specialty, formal and bridal stores, bras, in 35 styles, are sold with matching panties, wholesaling from $25 to $35 per set.
Full cup, push-up and contour styles, in cup sizes A, B, C and D, and panties, in sizes S, M and L, are machine washable.
The trademark strap, which assumes the wearer’s skin color, is non-irritating, non-slip, non-stretch and “still provides ample support and elasticity,” said Gordon.

Having established a strong presence in Europe over the past 10 years, this Danish jewelry company is now targeting the U.S. market, under Made In Europe, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based import company.
Fashion designers Gitte Dyrberg and Henning Kern bring a contemporary direction to the line. Swarovski crystals, bohemian glass beads, leather, silver- and goldplated alloy, rabbit fur, and pony skin combine to form the unique collection, which includes bright earrings, pins, chokers, lariats, necklaces and cuffs. A two-tone blue and brown beaded lariat accented with signature hardware is a recent bestseller.
The fall-winter group emphasizes beaded tri-tone neckwear and narrow calfskin straps that can be worn either as necklaces, bracelets or belts. Python-print chokers and pony skin rings are the trendiest jewelry items in the collection, which also offers handbags and scarves. Wholesale prices range from $15 to $40.

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