NEW YORK — Patrick Robinson’s spring collection for Perry Ellis will have a life after all.

This story first appeared in the September 11, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Responding to retail outcry over the fate of Robinson’s collection, reported in WWD on Friday, Perry Ellis International said it will produce and distribute the line as it was shown in a presentation during Olympus Fashion Week on Wednesday. It was an unusual situation in which editors and retailers realized only after the fact that they were looking at clothes that were never destined for stores.

But the company reversed its position on the collection on Friday, issuing a statement that PEI and Robinson had come to an agreement to offer the collection to top-tier specialty stores as a contemporary collection, under the label Perry Ellis Signature. PEI will produce the collection itself and show the line beginning Sept. 20 at its New York showroom.

The company’s negotiations with Robinson over the future of the line have not yet been concluded, PEI said.

The launch of Perry Ellis Signature will be overseen by Robinson and Rachel Barnett, president of licensing at PEI.

PEI, which has never produced a women’s collection, is targeting the line at stores including Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York and Neiman Marcus, and plans to differentiate it from the two-year-old Perry Ellis women’s sportswear line licensed to Public Clothing Co. for the better market, also designed by Robinson. That line is sold to major department stores such as Lord & Taylor and Dillard’s.

Robinson, who is an employee of the licensee, has been pushing PEI to take the collection in a more contemporary direction for several months. The clothes he showed Wednesday represented that vision, but because an agreement with PEI had not been reached to produce the collection, the designer was forced to turn away interested buyers after the presentation.

Talks between the designer and PEI are currently focused on the possibility of his moving from Public Clothing to PEI to start up the contemporary line as a separate division. He would then continue to oversee the direction of the better-priced sportswear at Public Clothing in addition to designing the contemporary Perry Ellis Signature collection for PEI.

Robinson and Barnett could not be reached at press time.