A PECK AT THE LATEST AND GREATEST TO HIT THE MART.

RICHARD ZOLLETT

Booth J-313, Blue Ice/Blue Ice Jeans

What a difference 13 years make.

The powers behind Miami-based Blue Ice recently decided to reengineer the blouse-pant motif guiding the misses’ collection since its 1989 inception. In addition to making the line younger with more contemporary styling, and softer with the infusion of knitwear, owner Robert Knyper is introducing a new jeans group this fall.

Suggestions from individuals at the firm’s New York buying office, Greggor Simmons, were instrumental in stimulating the changes.

“The direction of the market has become more casual,” said national sales manager Gregg Schneider. “And people are more conscious of what they wear when they travel.”

Most pieces are made with European novelty fabrics, including stretch gabardine and cashmere. Pieces include boot-cut studded leather pants and cashmere jeans-style jackets. Wholesale prices run from $29 to $185.

While Blue Ice continues to offer its signature blouses and pants to a traditional target consumer between 28 and 58 years old, the line has now expanded to the status of a lifestyle collection.

Blue Ice Jeans is a bottom-driven group of stretch fabric pieces, with a collection of tops, as well. Fall offerings include printed stretch corduroy jeans and motorcycle jackets in solids and prints, reminiscent of Andy Warhol artwork and Italian frescoes. Wholesale prices range from $29 to $129.

Sales volume for Blue Ice is estimated at $7 million wholesale for 2002; the volume for Blue Ice Jeans is projected at $2 million wholesale.

CINDY LEE & ASSOCIATES

Booth I-332, Beluva

Failing to find the right jackets to stock in her San Francisco boutique, Firuze Hariri decided to produce them herself in 1998. That’s when Beluva, a line of novelty jackets, was born. The line also recently launched a new group of coordinates.

Beluva is targeted to a contemporary consumer between 30 and 45 years old. The average wholesale price is $110 and most of the blazer-style pieces are made from reversible cotton/rayon and wool/rayon blends. Floral and bamboo prints are among the newer styles, along with a hip-length French houndstooth jacket in wool and a herringbone body with a mandarin collar.

To round out the collection and address her customers’ merchandising needs, Hariri this fall will introduce solid silk knit tops, for about $34 wholesale, and wool/gabardine pants, for about $74 wholesale, in plain-front and low-waist silhouettes. Colors, such as “brick” and “eggplant,” are dyed to match those found in the weaves of the line’s core items. Hariri, who still runs her store, called Firuze, feels she has an inside track on the ebbs and tides of her industry. “As a retailer, I know the end consumer and what her needs are; as a buyer, I know what’s missing in the market, and I design my collection around those bases,” she said.

Beluva has 700 accounts, largely with specialty stores, and an expected volume of $2 million wholesale for 2002.

SANDRA SOBA

Booth J-226, Troo

While comfort and spontaneity are the key elements of Troo, the new contemporary sportswear line at Sandra Soba, the collection emerged out of a very formal event.

“I got married last fall, and during my honeymoon, I was looking for clothes I could run around in and still look cute,” said owner and designer Stephanie Heflin. “I couldn’t find a thing.”

Heflin filled the void by creating T-shirts with sequin slogans, including “Freedom” and “Pride.” The T-shirts have since evolved to include a wider array of glittery emblems, from street signs to poodles, with coordinating fitted sweatshirts and pants. Fall silhouettes include “denim-treated” or whiskered pants in fleece, and a group of stretch lace tops. “Peekaboos,” the underwear group, includes thongs, briefs, bras and camisoles studded with Swarovski crystals. Wholesale prices range from $10 for a panties set to $44 for fleece pants.

Now that Heflin is settled in with her life and business partner, Ray Heflin, she is devoted to introducing more pieces that a woman could wear “to the grocery store as easily as she could on a date.”

With specialty store accounts totaling 200, Troo has a estimated volume of $1 million wholesale for this year.

STUDIO ELLE

Booth G-234, CPW Denim

What’s the latest on the jeans scene? CPW (Central Park West) Denim, which first landed at the Dallas Mart last season, with a bevy of washes and blasts; this fall the focus is on fabric variations.

The months-old New York line offers low-rise jeans in stretch suede, corduroy, denim and “sueded” denim in sizes 00-12 (equivalent to XXS-L). The line also includes jeans — that wholesale from $24 to $30 — with piping and contrast rawhide lacing up the sides. Between $21 to $27 wholesale are long and short stretch skirts and miniskirt bodies, all available in different washes.

National sales manager Mark Schulman said: “We’re sensitive to the consumer; the denim is reasonably priced, but the fit is expensive.”

CPW Denim is a collaboration between Zion Aviv, owner of South African retail chain Bogart Jeans, and the multiline label CPW. Since the collection began shipping last September, it has gained around 125 specialty store accounts. A wholesale volume of $1.5 million is projected this year.

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