Chris Stone to Debut Amy Karyn Collection

Carole Sloan, November 27, 2006

Bringing her signature look of antique-inspired decorative fabrics to the mainstream marketplace has been one of Amy Karyn Lichstein's goals, as she seeks to expand her reach with consumers beyond the hand prints she has become noted for.

And at Showtime next week in High Point, N.C., textile designer Lichstein will launch a collection of about 30 skus under a licensing agreement with decorative fabrics mill Chris Stone, featuring her textile designs at popular prices. Wholesale prices will range from about $5.50 to $11.00.

The collection, in development for two years, encompasses traditional florals and other designs updated for today's market. The collection has wovens to complement the prints created by Chris Stone's design department.

The Amy Karyn Collection at Chris Stone "is similar, and purposely similar to my other collection, but using different patterns and printing processes," said Lichstein. "There are traditional stripes, paisleys, damasks — all updated, familiar but based on the antiques."

As for color, Lichstein emphasized, "I have never been one to take a direction from a company. I put together color palettes myself. They're soft colors — not bolds or brights — French and English inspired."

There are four color groups including a natural/blue and red/camel statement.

The Chris Stone group includes softened linens and washed cottons that work back to each other in an eclectic way. "Designers will love this line; they can mix and match the prints and they all work together," said Mark Aizawa, Chris Stone president.

Lichstein has had her own collection of hand printed and finished designs on linen for some 16 years, and recently completed a four-year licensing arrangement with Lee Industries for furniture and fabrics. Those fabrics were machine printed and laundered.

Lichstein, who made her successful commercial debut at the New York International Gift Fair in 1992, initially offered 60 hand-crafted decorative pillows created from antique fabrics. The entire collection sold, and she then went into a business that now includes decorative pillows, bed ensembles, a baby line, tabletop, furniture, and gift accessories — all derived from her antique fabric collection.

In addition to linen, Lichstein uses raw silks, woven chenille, and 100% organically grown cotton.

Her hand printed linens are printed and finished at Paramount Hand Prints in Passaic, N.J., a facility she began with Ed Goldfarb in 2003. Looking beyond the hand prints that wholesale from $48 to $55 a yard, Lichstein said, "I started to shop around in the print business and felt that a smaller, more personable company that specialized in linens would be right. And Chris Stone offered me an opportunity. It was an area they didn't have covered."

Also in 2003, she opened her Amy Karyn Home Store that is now based in Princeton, N.J., the successor to an initial unit in Lambertville, N.J. as well as a department in ABC Carpet & Home in New York City. "We're going back to being a custom house in fabrics and product," she said.

While this new endeavor with Chris Stone has been a key focus of the past several years, Lichstein has her sights set on yet another goal — a couture line for design centers. "These will be different patterns and processes of printing — dressier patterns, silks, velvets, wovens." Target for this launch is 2007.

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