FENDI’S PLACE IN THE SUN: Nearly 500 Fendi fans crowded into the company’s Fifth Avenue flagship store recently to see the Italian firm’s new sunglass line and meet Carla Fendi, chairman of the firm.

As reported, the company recently expanded its eyewear line, and 16 of the new styles were on view at the event. Many of the frames incorporate signature Fendi elements, such as the double F logo and Roman columns, in black or various shades of tortoise.

The line will be available in all Fendi stores, as well as high-end specialty stores and optical stores nationwide beginning in February. Wholesale prices range from $65 to $90.

The expanded line of frames and sunglasses is by Marchon & Marcolin, which has been producing Fendi’s eyewear collection since it was launched two years ago.

THE SUN ALSO SHINES FOR KENNETH COLE: Kenneth Cole has inked his second licensing deal within the last month, having signed an agreement with B. Robinson Optical Inc. to manufacture and distribute a collection of sunglasses bearing Cole’s name.

Just last month, Cole added prescription eyewear to his growing list of licensees. He also has deals for socks, hosiery and neckwear, although he produces handbags, small leathergoods, belts and footwear in-house.

The sunglass line will include 27 styles, retailing from $50 to $70. Shapes run toward the retro and glamorous, and materials include black and tortoise plastic and colored matte-finish aluminum. All of the lenses are shatterproof and treated to provide 100 percent UV protection.

The line will hit department and specialty stores nationwide next February.

THE DISNEY SHUFFLE: In New York, the arrival of the Disney Co. on Fifth Avenue will result in the relocation of several upscale leather goods retailers.

Bally of Switzerland is planning to move its U.S. flagship from Fifth Avenue to Madison Avenue.

The accessories and shoe company will open its new men’s and women’s store at 628 Madison Ave. and 59th Street sometime next spring. The 4,500-square-foot space, which is within the General Motors building, is currently occupied by Bank Melli Iran.

Bally’s current flagship space at 711 Fifth Ave., where it has been since 1976, measures 10,000 square feet. The Disney Co. is scheduled to take over this space once Bally leaves, according to Seth Hochman, chief financial officer of Bally.

Josef Ming, chief executive officer of the firm, said he felt the new locale would actually serve as a better showcase for all of Bally’s products because of the more desirable address. T

he new store will be designed by European architect Andree Putman.

The two Bally stores currently operating on upper Madison Avenue, at 645 Madison Ave. between 59th and 60th Streets, and 689 Madison Ave. at 62nd Street, will close when their leases expire next fall.

Ming said Bally will maintain some presence on Fifth Avenue, though a specific location has not yet been determined.

Meanwhile, German leather goods firm Goldpfeil will move from its current retail venue on Fifth Avenue to a new location on Madison Avenue by the first quarter of next year.

Goldpfeil, who has been in its 2,000-square-foot store at 711 Fifth Ave. at 55th Street for two years, is also moving out because Disney is moving in.

According to Stephanie Schmidt, vice president of Goldpfeil’s U.S. division, the firm is presently looking at possible locations on the east side of Madison between 60th and 68th Streets.

“We’re looking for a slightly smaller space, probably 1,400 or 1,500 square feet,” Schmidt noted.

DIFFA’S DIAMOND NIGHT: At a recent benefit dinner, the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) raised $93,250 via a diamond ring auction.

As reported, a group of leading names in the fashion industry designed one-of-a-kind rings for DIFFA to sell at its event, held Dec. 8 at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York.

Of the 12 pieces put on the block, Gianfranco Ferré’s creation brought in the highest bid, $10,500. Calvin Klein’s went for $9,000, as did Ralph Lauren’s. Lauren’s ring actually appeared in its second edition, the first having been stolen from the manufacturer a week before the auction.

The party, which drew a crowd of 400, raised money for AIDS research. In addition to the sum collected in the auction, champagne company Dom Perignon donated $6,000, and ticket sales brought in slightly more than $100,000.


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