Byline: Berry Bloomingdale
The following are the newest junior and contemporary entries at the CaliforniaMart and New Mart:
The slinky, stretch satin dresses of this Los Angeles-based contemporary line have skimmed the famous figures of Cindy Crawford and Jennifer Aniston.
Designed by Joyce Kay and launched with spring 1999, Mandalay opened its showroom this past October.
For summer, Kay wants to “wash the palette clean” by returning to white. While dresses will remain in their signature form-fitting style, they will be simpler and in lighter silks and stretch knits.
Key summer items include dresses in a white cotton eyelet and a racy camouflage print. Wholesale prices range from $138 for a basic dress to $388 for a floor length, fully beaded gown.
ELIZABETH FRENCH, B536
At the California Mart since November, Saja is already generating a lot of talk, thanks to a recent stint in the Holiday windows of Henri Bendel. Designer Yoo Lee worked for Donna Karan and BCBG Max Azria before launching Saja last February.
Sheer, sequined sleeveless tops are the key to this line.
“Customers range from the young, Hollywood starlet to older women looking for something more sophisticated,” says sales rep Elizabeth French.
Wholesale prices are $54-$98 for tops, with skirts and dresses at $120. For summer, the boldly colored sequined tops continue in deep red, ochre and aqua. A featured style slashed with a thick band of sequins across the chest.
JAMES PERSE, B591
With a desire for more control over the four-year-old company, designing owner James Perse took the brand to the next level and opened a showroom in September.
Perse began his career with private-label manufacturing before starting his own line based on the success of his deep-V T-shirt.
The line has now expanded to include pants, sweaters and dressier tops.
For summer, Perse introduces his first line of dresses. They will be sexy but sporty, featuring the signature deep-V neckline. T-shirts are wholesale priced at $20, sweaters at $50 and pants, $40.
THORNTON & THORNTON, 401
This contemporary dress line relaunched nine months ago under designer Danielle Dahan and bowed in its showroom here in November.
Wildly printed matte jersey and rayon dresses are the focus and priced from $36 to $45.
Expect loud geometric printed wrap dressed for summer. Eighties fashion will also feature. But it’s the “attention to detail that makes these dresses so great,” noted sales rep Patricia Thornton, pointing to the leather trims.
Shirley Huling at Studio West, 1100
Anna Huling Launched four years ago, Anna Huling started her self-named line when she wanted to find a pair of hipster pants that fit her tiny frame. She shared her results with owner Ron Herman, who instantly ordered several pairs.
While Huling has expanded to T-shirts, tops, jackets and dresses, it’s still all about the pants.
“The number one thing is their fit,” said Huling, “My original five-pocket pant is still my bestseller.” It’s now available in a range of colors and fabrics, including leather. For summer, Huling is introducing novelty denim line and lingerie. The line wholesales from $28 for a T-shirt to $225 for leather pants.
TOOL BOX, 501
This year-old line takes vintage clothing and retools it. Started by husband- and-wife team Shirley and Derrick Banton — who also happen to be leading vintage dealers — Tool Box bowed in the New Mart in October.
Vintage T-shirts, jackets, jeans and even sweatpants are resurrected. The result: A vintage men’s Converse T-shirt becomes a fitted tank with leather seams, while a sweatshirt gets sweater sleeves. Because it’s vintage, “you will never see the exact same item twice,” says rep Marie Kennedy-Shafer. That makes it popular in the trendy L.A. market, she added.
For summer, Tool Box is banking on the tank top. In this case, that means a vintage tank with its sides split and retied with leather. The line wholesales at $20-$50 for tops and $60 for most jeans.
KATHY WALKER, 504
My Salad Days
My Salad Days launched in February under designer Amy Liu. The Los Angeles line specializes in 14-gauge silk-cotton tops with an emphasis on softness and sheer. A cap-sleeved, scooped neck is a line standout.
The summer collection offers ruffled Lurex blouses, shiny sweaters and short fine-gauge summer cardigans in warm colors, such apricot and sunstroke. An expected favorite is the Lurex tube top, cinched in the center by a sparkly brooch. Tops wholesale at $49 for a tank and $55 for a sweater.