NEW YORK — Perry Ellis International has signed a licensing deal with Utex Corp. to produce women’s rainwear and outerwear for the signature brand.

This story first appeared in the November 25, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The new collection will debut this fall and ships to stores in the U.S. and Canada in July. As part of the deal, Utex will also start distributing Perry Ellis men’s tailored clothing and outerwear in Canada. Based in Montreal, Utex Fashion Group produces outerwear under the Utex and Hilary Radley labels. The company generates about $75 million in annual sales with women’s apparel accounting for 55 percent of that figure.

Through its wholly owned subsidiaries, Perry Ellis owns or licenses a portfolio of 25 brands, including Jantzen, Munsingwear and John Henry. It has been at least three years since Perry Ellis has offered women’s outerwear, said Maria Folyk-Kushner, vice president of Perry Ellis Licensing. Fairbrooke Enterprises, which shuttered its doors earlier this year, was the last licensee for the brand’s women’s outerwear.

“We’re going after the women’s business now, and outerwear is an important category,” she said.

In April, Public Clothing Co., the women’s sportswear licensee of Perry Ellis International, hired Patrick Robinson as creative director of Perry Ellis women’s sportswear.

William Calvert, who still has his own signature line, has been hired as a design consultant to develop Perry Ellis’ women’s outerwear. A few years back, Calvert was a winner of Moët & Chandon’s designer debut event.

Reached in Utex’s offices Monday, he said, “It’s for the young spirited ‘Bond’ girl who balances strength and delicacy, polish and ambition. We’re not going after an age-specific group. We want to offer something current and beautiful at a reasonable price.”

The 60-piece collection of modern classics is made of wool, precious fibers, shearling, fur, metallic leather, down and nylon. Wool peacoats, duffles, leather jackets and snap-out shell coats are among the offerings.

It will be shown in January or February at the Perry Ellis women’s outerwear showroom at 463 Seventh Avenue. The company aims to sell the outerwear to department stores. A print advertising campaign is planned for the fall launch.

While executives at Perry Ellis and Utex were reluctant to give a targeted age bracket, Folyk-Kushner said it’s geared for women “with an attitude of a 25- to-35 year-old” even though they may not be that age.

“It’s young and kicky without being junior,” Calvert said.

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