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Lilly Pulitzer Grows Up with Dan River

Lilly is thinking more about men. On the heels of the launch of its menswear line, Lilly Pulitzer homewear — home textiles, that is — is also trending toward more master-bedroom and male-friendly looks.

It is significant but not exactly a sharp left turn into a new arena; more of a slow, arcing curve. Two of the four patterns introduced by Dan River Global during market week here were intended to begin a gentle evolution of the lifestyle brand toward a more broadly defined market. Orchid Suite and Via Mizner keep the signature airy seashore appeal of Palm Beach, but also move beyond the more "girlie" looks of past years to something more appealing to guys thinking about sliding between the sheets.

The other two, more traditional, Lilly patterns introduced were Butterfly Garden and Ditty Dotty.

"She's one of our signature lines — for us it's a very prestigious line," offered Neil Mandell, senior vp of licensing and marketing for Dan River Global, which is in its fifth year of partnership with the brand. "It's been a very focused line, trending toward a young female — even teenage girls. We knew that because of the sizes that were selling — mostly twin, full, and queen. We don't really do a lot of king business because in the past it hasn't really been perceived as a master bedroom suite. We're working on that now and this [Orchid Suite] ensemble is geared toward getting a male customer comfortable. There will be more later."

Orchid Suite is essentially a solid-color program featuring 400-count sheets with an embellished hem. Top of bed is in a jacquard motif and colorways are in a subdued green, a dusty rose, white, and champagne.

Mandell said the offering tracked well with retailers during the recent Lilly Pulitzer summit in Palm Beach.

"We've had requests from her signature stores and some of the larger retailers," Mandell explained. "They love Lilly and want to expand the line. Once we get that up and going, we've talked to Lilly about maybe doing a Lilly kids' collection."

Via Mizner aims for a highly sophisticated look with a subtle bamboo design, crisp white 400- and 600-count sheets with a sewn-on ribbon treatment. "There's a tremendous attention to detail," Mandell noted.

Additionally, a new brand logo is appearing on decorative pillows. It features a graphic rendition of her LP initials in a mirror image that presents the shape of an anchor.

There are more skus in the Lilly Pulitzer line than in any other segment of the Dan River assortment. In addition to sheets and top of bed, they include ceramic bath accessories, jacquard and printed bath towels, beach towels, bath mats, quilts and shams, Mandell said.

All of it is sold as open stock, which has contributed to successfully holding price points. "This is not a white sale property," he said. "The only time you ever really see price breaking here is when something is being cleared out."

However, Mandell acknowledged that selling the line as open stock also creates inventory balancing challenges, something the company continues to address.

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