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Lowell Returns to Textiles

NEW YORK - It's been about five years since celebrity interior decorator and home fashions designer Christopher Lowell developed and marketed his own branded collection of home textiles and room décor merchandise.
     But now he's back.
     Lowell - who partnered with Burlington Coat Factory for the Christopher Lowell home collection from 2001 to 2006 and hosted his own decorating program on The Discovery Channel for nine years - is launching a new collection of bedding and bath textiles this spring.
     Only this time Lowell, who is represented by The Beanstalk Group, has opted to take a different approach with his home textiles program. Instead of licensing his designs and brand to a retailer, he has joined forces with home textiles supplier Fayette-Renaissance to create and market his new collection to a variety of retail tiers from discount through better department stores.
     The foundation of Lowell's new collection is based on the designer's long-established Color Courage palette, which he created as a color tool with pre-selected color combinations designed to work together.
     Lowell offers four decorating style categories - City, Town, Country and Shore - which he also employs in his new linens collection.
     Aside from adhering to Lowell's color deck, the new collection has been broken down into three design stories that each address a different customer bracket.
     The first, dubbed the Christopher Lowell Collection, is "more of a traditional line of bedding based on pre-coordinated prints and solids we know men will like," Lowell said. "Here, we are going with a lot of earth tones that match the palette and a heavy spa influence in the patterns," which include many organic design themes.
     The second is Lowell's Boutique Hotel Collection, which he said "turns the master suite into a luxury hotel suite."
     The third, CL on Campus, is a college-oriented collection "that has very high style and smart colors." The designs here use techsavvy lingo for a "very hip" assortment. "This collection is really built on the idea that a lot of these kids only have two or three resources to pick out cool stuff for their dorms that they can pick themselves," he told HTT.
     In creating his program, Lowell drew from his design experiences that taught him how to work strictly with couples - and not just the lady of the house - in designing and decorating spaces.
     "The days of florals are over now," he said. "Too many women abused that look at home for too long, and the guys hated it, so you aren't going to see that now."
     What you will see, however, he continued, is "a very sexy, streamlined approach. Our patterns are more botanically inspired with a suggestion of nature."
     It will all be "non gender-specific" so that is appeals to both men and women equally.
     Additionally, Lowell is giving a sense of practicality to the line, incorporating "as many reversible looks as we can," as well as new fiber technologies that offer comfort at the right price.
     The sheeting aspect of the line will include products made of a new grain of microfiber - "a new grade that answers to the price of cotton in our industry," Lowell noted. "These sheets are completely woven, front to back, to allow them to breathe like natural and expensive cotton. But this is better because it lasts longer and comes out of the dryer wrinkle free."
     The collection targets "all price levels," which Lowell described as ranging from an off-price chain through a better department store.
     "As a designer, I know where to put the perceived value, where to add the detail on the bed ensemble and where not to waste your time putting it," Lowell noted.
     "We also are out in the world all the time, so we know the hotels where people would like to stay in but can't afford," he went on. "My specialty is to take influence from those things, bring them to marketplace and pre-coordinate it and develop the look so the shopper can afford it."
     Added Daniel Levin, managing director of Beanstalk Los Angeles: "The time is right now [for the launch] because people are looking more and more for ways to not to make a mistake when designing their homes. Budgets more than ever are a concern for consumers, so they want to make sure they are making really smart choices. And Christopher's philosophy will give them true confidence in buying his products and knowing they will go with the lifestyle and look they want to achieve."
     Levin is also Lowell's close friend and colleague, having represented him and collaborated with him on his many professional endeavors over the past 18 years.
     "Budgets more than ever are a concern for consumers, so they want to make sure they are making really smart choices," Levin continued. "And Christopher's philosophy will give them true confidence in buying his products and knowing they will go with the lifestyle and look they want to achieve."
     The first part of the collection to release this spring will be the sheets. More bedding and bath will follow, and in the future possibly other home textiles categories, which Lowell said he hopes will be done in conjunction with Fayette-Renaissance.
     In the meantime, Lowell has a new TV series in development that will support the collection.
     In the soft home category, Lowell has licensed Jo-Ann Fabrics for fabrics.

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