Retailers, consumers and prices
Mizrahi’s Liz Claiborne line getting warm reviews
Isaac Mizrahi, the ebullient fashion designer tapped by Liz Claiborne Inc to resuscitate its namesake sportswear line, seems to have worked his magic again, according to early analyst and retailer reviews.
The designer, who starred in the 1995 movie “Unzipped” and started the cheap chic trend favored by his former employer Target Corp, was named creative director of the Liz Claiborne brand in January and his first collection for the brand will hit stores in the Spring.
While most reporters are still in the dark, analysts and retailers have seen the line and have given it the thumbs-up.
Credit Suisse analyst Omar Saad, who attended last week’s analyst preview of the Spring 2009 Liz Claiborne line, wrote in a research note on Monday that it exceeded his generally high expectations. It also increases the likelihood of a successful turnaround in that struggling brand, whose sales are now roughly half what they were at their peak, Saad said.
“We thought the spring line preview, which featured everything from work attire and sportswear to athletic apparel and cocktail dresses, was well merchandised and boasted a modern (but not too edgy) feel that should resonate with the Liz core consumer,” wrote Saad.
Saad said he liked the bright color palette, unexpected details on many of the garments and the new “LC” logo, which is being used as a print on button-down shirts, swimsuits and handbags.
Women’s Wear Daily recently obtained sketches of the clothes, which revealed safari-inspired outfits, dresses with bold stripes, plaids and polka dots, and floral leggings that matched the lining on a trench coat.
The fashion industry publication also cited executives from the brand’s department store clients.
Macy’s Chief Executive Terry Lundgren said “it looked great”, while Bon-Ton Stores’ President Tony Buccina said the new product “makes you smile,” according to WWD.
The clothes may be fun and new, but Credit Suisse’s Saad noted that the weak state of the current economy makes this a difficult time to execute such a complex restructuring and turn-around. And that is something that even the magic of Mizrahi may not be able to fix.