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Design Works to build on Royal Sateen brand

Although Royal Sateen is entering its first market as part of the stand-alone company Design Works, it is making no sharp departures from previous product direction, but rather building upon it.

Royal Sateen and Calvin Klein Home are the marquee labels that accompanied Crown Crafts' sale in July of its adult bedding division to former ceo Michael Bernstein, now chief of the new Design Works company. Aside from the paperwork, however, the sales, marketing and design team behind Royal Sateen remains the same — albeit with the ability to focus more single-mindedly on the strategy for the Royal Sateen brand.

"We're looking to build the Royal Sateen brand in prints, where we think our strength is," said Glen Giordano, director of corporate sales and merchandising.

With the luxury end of the market holding its own in the midst of the economic slowdown, Royal Sateen "will continue to push the envelope forward in both thread count and styling," Giordano said. "From a sewing standpoint, we're able to offer different kinds of cut and sew, turnbacks, embroidery — things we couldn't do in the past."

Pricing strategy going into market had not been settled at press time, but Giordano acknowledged that the battle for share continues to escalate.

"We will be looking at increasing the promotional activity on Candlelights [solid-color sheeting]," he said. "Our competitors are pushing thread count and pursuing promotions. It's a reaction to the environment."

For next month's New York Home Textiles market, Royal Sateen expands yet again upon its Candlelights 310-count sateen sheeting program with the introduction of Candlelights Check. Check's palette coordinates back to fall market's fashion top-of-bed introductions and can be marketed as the second set of sheets to layer into the bedding.

"We're making dressing the bed more like how people dress themselves — with choices of different layers and details," said Marcia Brandwein, director of design. "It's like accessorizing, adding the earrings and the bracelets — the finishing touch."

Royal Sateen also is broadening the color range of its Candlelights Constantine 310-count jacquard sheeting program, introduced last market in citrine and ecru. Three colors have been added: white, lacquer and black.

And in Royalty, the 410-count sheet introduced last market in sand, Royal Sateen has added a snowy white.

There's also a new "natural finishing" process being used on sheeting this market, Brandwein said. She declined to detail the process, but said that it results in a silkier hand and better draping.

"We're building a product that satisfies what's trendy, but also has the value and the quality associated with our brand," she said.

For market, Royal Sateen will introduce eight beds vs. six introductions during spring market. Each coordinates to a silk quilt as well as to one of the new Candlelights Check solid sheets—olive, eggplant, silver and sandstone — as well as a range of accessories.

Autumn Floral is inspired by Candlelights' smoke blue, with tossed leaves in russets, reds and olives. A detailed textured plaid on a smoke blue background is used on the fitted sheet, bed ruffle, euro shame, duvet reverse and the hem of the flat sheet and pillowcase.

Martinique is a collection of four patterns. The lead is a flamboyant document floral enhanced by fiber reactive printing to give it a silken quality. The ground is subtly textured in camel tones. The floral employs warm sand, reds, blues and purples on the duvet face, sham and dec pillows. Carmel is used for the body of the fitted sheet and on the hem of the pillowcase and flat sheet.

The Asian-inspired Washi is a floral patterned with a delicate weave texture that forms a faint grid on pale gold. Accented with a spray of Asian flowers in plum and pink, it also features flowing leaves in sage and olive on the duvet face, shams and dec pillows. A circle repeat reminiscent of antique kimono designs is used on the bed ruffle, euro pillows, the fitted sheet and the hemming on the flat sheet and pillowcases.

Rosabella features detailed roses widely spaced on a neutral chino ground. It coordinates with a fine mini geometric design forming a plaid, which is used on the fitted sheet as well as the attached hem of the pillowcase and flat sheet as well as on dec pillows.

Imperial Damask is a yarn-dyed woven jac that combines neutral colors and a printed tonal scroll in tans and grays. A yarn-dyed woven geometric motif is used for the inner center of the euro shams as well as on the hem of the flat sheet and pillowcase. Accessories include hand-woven silk pillows in dark gold.

Dynasty is a heavier weight jac in a traditional kimono look with a deep black offset by a solid black. The group uses a dramatic lacquer red for contrast and black twisted braid for trim. Accessories include puckered black fabric with tassels on dec pillows as well as a velvet leopard dec pillow.

Damask Stripe is a traditional damask weave in a yarn-dyed jacquard stripe, with a silken luster and accents in champagne, pale lemon and dusty pink. A document wallpaper stripe is with bands of strie colors is used for the ruffled bed shirt, euros and dec sateen pillows.

Royalty White has a jacquard duvet face reversing to a weave, with embroidered jacquard used on the shame face, pillowcase hem and flat sheet. The ultra-elegant set coordinates with the new white Royalty 410 sheeting, as well as a platinum silk quilt.

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