BEACH BOUND: APC, the French cult brand known for its impeccable cuts, is launching beachwear. Called Madras and produced in India, it is co-designed by APC founder Jean Touitou and England’s Jessica Ogden. “It’s our first beach line,” said Touitou of the clothes that hit stores today. “It will be produced once a year, but sold year-round.” Madras retails between about $60, or 50 euros, for a cotton tunic and $85, or 70 euros, for a dress.
Meanwhile, Touitou is extending APC’s retail network. Last week, he opened his first shop in Germany, a 1,200-square-foot unit in Berlin’s Mitte district; In August, a boutique will bow in Hong Kong (APC’s third there). The firm’s 16th shop in Japan, in Yokohama, will also open this summer. APC has 23 shops. Touitou is likewise angling to boost the company’s profile in the U.S. He’ll cohost a party Sept. 10 with Self Service magazine in APC’s Manhattan store during New York Fashion Week. He’s also scouting for a retail location on the West Coast. — Robert Murphy
COMEBACK KID: Kostas Murkudis, the former New York Industrie designer, last week relaunched a signature collection at the Premium trade event in Berlin. Hoping to attract high-end fashion retailers in Europe, Asia and the U.S., Murkudis showed a dozen women’s wear and accessories looks, as well as a larger men’s line. Inspired by rock icons from Nina Hagen and Nico to Lou Reed and Iggy Pop, the spring 2005 effort is Murkudis’ first since New York Industrie was dissolved and he discontinued his own line in 2001. — R.M.
TEAM SPIRIT: Unity is the byword in Greece these days. Weeks after its underdog soccer squad rallied to win the Euro 2004 cup, its designers are looking to score a victory, too. They have founded the Hellenic Fashion Designers Association, which already boasts 36 members. It plans to boost designers’ profiles through state and private sector collaborations. It also wants to increase media attention. Meanwhile, HDF is charting ways to export Greek talent abroad. To wit, this fall it’s planning its first Greek fashion week. — Elis Kiss
FAST PACE: Camaieu, the French fast-fashion chain, last week reported that sales increased 6.9 percent to $226.1 million, or 184.1 million euros at current exchange, in the first half ended June 30. Twenty stores opened in the half, bringing the chain’s total to 419. Meanwhile, another French cheap-chic firm, Morgan, is angling to grab a share of the vibrant French activewear market. It said it has launched a sports line to be sold in French sports specialty stores. It includes workout and dancewear as well as a more casual streetwear line.