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WPS tells new color story

Marvin Lazaro -- Home Textiles Today, September 23, 2002

Armed with an array of new colors and new embellishments, WestPoint Stevens is expecting its new bedding and bath collections to garner more attention at the October market.

The major mill previewed its market introductions last week with a majority of its in-house products following two color stories. Both the bedding and bath divisions introduced several cosmetic shades, while the bedding division alone unveiled new jewel tones, and the bath division offered its own version with Bollywood tones. All of the new colors are derived from a corporate color palette from which customers are able to pick and choose color stories and see what shades WestPoint is focusing on.

Many products also stand to benefit from WestPoint's other focus this market, embellishments. Whether it was banding on towels or offsetting fabrics and patterns in bedding, WestPoint is adding more value to its products.

"We're approaching October market from these two directions," said Nancy Golden, vp of creative services. "We are focusing on embellishments as a trend and offering our customers a base of 28 'corporate colors,' which they can use as a starting point for their programs."

"For WestPoint Stevens," she said, "this market is about adding value and innovation."

Park Lane, which is offered in white or black, is new for its Grand Patrician embellished line. Featuring a simple, refined elegance, the ensemble is embellished with hombre satin stripes in shades of champagne, platinum and taupe. The comforter set is constructed from 200-count cotton. The Grand Patrician solid-color offerings include Isola and Makela. The menswear-inspired Isola offers a yarn-dyed design in 280-count sateen paired with a smaller shirting gingham to create a crisp, tailored look. Makela mixes a traditional floral damask with a contemporary woven texture combined with six different colors.

All three ensembles' coordinating sheets have been upgraded from a 310-count cotton construction to a 350-count Egyptian cotton with no change in price point, said Gurmeet Kaur, product manager. She also said that prices for the entire ensemble would remain the same at $99 retail for a queen.

WPS' Answer Beds have been augmented with five new looks, Scarborough, Madrasa, Daybreak, Claudette and Silk Pajamas. Scarborough is filigree- and fretwork-inspired with a woven stripe of rust, burnished gold and eggplant running down the face. The 230-count cotton sheeting design has a wide decorative border and a delicate filigree body. Madrasa, in sage and taupe, features a mixture of antique paisley shawls to create a patchwork effect. A detailed border and a tonal paisley adorn the accompanying sheeting.

Iridescent moires, chenille damasks and embroidered ribbons all inspired the look for Daybreak, which is colored in shades of blue, navy and burnished gold. Claudette features a classic traditional medallion floral framed on two sides by a woven diamond design, and Silk Pajamas, a Larry Laslo design, has been re-colored in more modern neutral muted tones.

The Martex bed-in-a-bag collection offers Winslow and Moroccan Patch this market, while the down bed-in-a-bag offers Claire, Barlow and Dynasty. Winslow features a traditional paisley design in muted jewel tones that are set off by a simpler paisley running down the comforter face. Moroccan Patch utilizes a patchwork of woven decorative motifs. Both are priced at $199 retail and include 230-count sheets.

Claire also uses a floral design, but with a more dramatic tone. Barlow is a striae woven stripe with a woven diamond design on the coordinates. A traditional damask in green and gold adorns Dynasty.

"We're really excited about the amount of potential [on the bedding side]," said Golden.

On the towel side, WPS expands its non-solid solid line with the Staccato towel, which is part of the Seduction collection. Available in four colorways — soft blue and green, neutral, tonal amethyst and petal, and merlot and indigo — the towel features a rhythmic stripe with four colors per towel. Five new solid colors also join the line: petal, shell, oyster, bamboo and black.

The Grand Patrician line is bolstered by the addition of Acanthus and Urban Tweed. Acanthus pairs an acanthus motif with a diamond-quilted solid terry body, while a richly textured non-solid body with a geometric border makes up Urban Tweed.

A 100 percent Supima cotton towel augments the Atelier Martex line. Sized at 30" x 58", the towel is offered in a 20-color palette at a retail price point of $12.99. Two coordinate towels are also offered, Weekend Retreat and Crosstown. Weekend Retreat combines bands of waffleweave with terry loops in six spa colors, while Crosstown is a richly color simple geometric design.

Addressing the novelty trend is Martex Novellas, which offers a themed border and a solid-color body for $7.99 retail. Gone Sailing, Offshore, Coral Reef, Garden Delight, Elephant Parade and Palm Trees all feature designs ranging from a fleet of navy ships to tropical fish to playful monkeys and tropical palms.

Joining the Martex Emperor line is the Grid Stripe towel, which is meant to tie back to the original Emperor solid towel. Priced at $5.99 retail, four colorways are offered.

Satin Handkerchief joins the Utica Satin Stripe line. Priced at $4.99 retail, this towel updates the Satin Stripe coordinates with a towel-sized version of a men's handkerchief.

"We're bringing a full line of embroidered towels, in numerous designs and colorways, because things are cyclical, and it's their time," said Cynthia Lerner, vp of bath design and development. "Things are trending toward solids with a twist."

Once again, the Disney line of licensed merchandise has geared its assortment toward the mass merchants. Like its upscale counterparts, the mass lineup has been supplemented with a line of full-scale panel print quilts, both blended and 100 percent cotton. The focus remains on the four main character groups — Mickey Mouse, Princesses, Winnie the Pooh and Buzz Lightyear — and each is represented on one or more of the 12 new quilt ensembles. The Disney line also previewed its product stemming from the new Disney/Pixar movie "Finding Nemo," which is due for release in May 2003. A bath set, shower curtain, printed towel set, shower hooks and three beach towels are all offered featuring the title character, a small clownfish named Nemo.

The Basic Bedding division also introduced a slew of new Ralph Lauren Home product for October market, including yarn-dyed, polyester filled coordinating shaped pillows, complete with the signature RL embroidery. Shapes include jumbo pillows, euro shams, sleeping wedges and body bolsters with retail prices from $19.99 to $29.99. WestPoint is also working on layering on tradeup opportunities for Lauren blankets in new styles with alternative yarns.

The Vellux Thermo-Soft line is extending into throws and mattress pads, while the new Vellux printed blankets are shipping this month.

"We're working a lot of customer-specified presentations," said Scott Howard, vp of sales for the basic bedding division.

The division is also planning on tradeup options built around its cotton fleece products. Howard said the intent was to construct all of the products around 100 percent cotton fleece with some blends and some cotton-rich product mixed in.

Down comforters, blankets and throws, all in a tropical, fun palette, also hit the market this time around, but with a cotton chintz shell and a $79.99 all size retail price point.

Finally, the down alternative side has been extended into comforters and throws, but with richer, jewel-tone palettes. Down-top featherbeds, in both the Ralph Lauren and WestPoint brands, are being offered with a cover to "add a little more to the product."

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