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WPS widens scope of Designer's Guild

New York — This upcoming fall market may herald a new era for WestPoint Stevens.

There will be new product categories such as shower curtains and bath accessories previously jobbed out to other vendors. Also, WestPoint will unveil adult and kids bedding and bath under the Designer's Guild license, which until now was primarily distributed in the United Kingdom. The company will also unveil the full power behind its recently formed Basic Bedding Division, the conglomeration of its Liebhardt Mills, Chatham and basic bedding division.

Those products, along with new branded items for Grand Patrician and Answer Bed lines, help form a powerful lineup for the October market.

Leading off will be many new ensembles for Designer's Guild. The main focus of the collection is five new adult beds and three new juvenile beds, but these have been bolstered by several new top-of-bed items, such as mohair or herringbone blankets and throws as well as coordinating towels and 10 new colors for the solid-color towel collection.

"We had the ability and opportunity to expand the product base through the Designer's Guild license," said Kathleen Cwirko, executive vp, marketing. "It's all about lifestyle and about the product, but also about how you merchandise it."

Ocean, chalk, leaf, papaya, viola, peony, vanilla, crocus, kiwi and delphinium represent the new Designer's Guild solid-color palette for towels and sheets. The sheets will be made from 100 percent cotton in a 250-count construction with grosgrain trim. Lead pricing on open-stock sheets will start at $29.99.

Coordinating towels are priced at $12.99 for 27" x 52" bath towels. Made of ring-spun cotton, the towels are woven in a sculpted design. A coordinating jacquard towel will be priced at $14.99.

WestPoint is introducing five adult beds under Designer's Guild. Featuring 250-count cotton sheeting and 200-count cotton top-of-bed, comforter sets will retail from $129 to $249.

A large medallion pattern is partnered with a small stripe background on Parisienne, which is partnered with a jacquard towel. Hana features an aqua ground with hand-drawn pink flowers and two jacquard plaid towels A wide-band stripe adorns Guillemard which has a striped jacquard towel as its coordinate. Rounding out the adult line are Floribunda, featuring flowers on a white ground with a hand-drawn stripe reverse and printed towel, and Violetta, an all-over embroidery on a white ground, also with an embroidered towel.

Each of the ensembles may be combined with coordinating mohair blankets, 100 percent cotton white herringbone blanket with saddlestitch trim, or a 100 percent cotton throw.

Also under the Designer's Guild license are juvenile beds Daydream, which features a green meadow and blue sky with various animals and birds; Hopscotch, with animals driving cars, trains and planes; and Rosy Posy, a pink and white floral that reverses to a stripe of the same colors.

For the Grand Patrician line of bedding, Velvet Scroll, Metropol and Larry Laslo Double Scroll bow for this market. Velvet Scroll is a re-introduction of the popular Grand Patrician Scroll pattern that debuted several years ago. Metropol is a silk dupioni, pieced quilted bed done in iridescent bronze and black with a contemporary, masculine feeling. Double Scroll is constructed from a double weave jacquard with a woven sheer stripe.

Six new beds will debut for WestPoint's Patrician Answer Bed collection. Chateau, a French brocade look; Provence, a multi-color brocade look; Avignon, a floral done in lilac with gold accents; Circle in the Square, a softened neutral geometric; Silk Pajamas, a masculine cabana stripe in black and tan; and Boulevard, a transitional large-scale with a single-stem carnation motif, will all be unveiled.

The Answer Bed Collection will also feature a woven bedskirt for each ensemble, an 18-inch fitted sheet, and a wide flat sheet in new packaging but in the same price point range of $199 to $299.

Under the Grand Patrician Luxury umbrella, a more sumptuous Seduction towel will roll out. Shipping at the end of December at a $19.99 retail price point, the new towel is 30" x 56", offered in 10 colors and made from 16.85-pound long-staple, ring-spun cotton and will also feature a dobby border.

"It's more appealing and longer-lasting," said Jack Rizzuto, business manager, adding that a 26" x 34" tub mat would also be offered and that the earlier modal construction never seemed to catch on with consumers and retailers, alike.

Floral Lace and Classical Shell are the newest introductions under WestPoint's Museum Collection.

Launched just last market, Patrician Plus debuts two new patterns: Checkerboard Floral, a contemporary look with linear-drawn flowers on a checkerboard background; and Patrician Rib, a vertical rib with a solid-color cuff. Each is offered in four colorways.

ZigZag, Skinny Stripe, Camouflage, Raindrops, Flower Boxes and Garden Path will bow under the Patrician line. A two-tone chevron pattern adorns ZigZag, while a tonal, four-color stripe is featured on Skinny Stripe. Camouflage reflects the current hot apparel trend, while a modern interpretation of raindrops on a pond is Raindrops. Flower Boxes and Garden Path are reintroductions of past successful patterns.

Under the Emperor and Utica brands, Accordion Stripe and Satin Checkers, respectively, are new for market.

Also being unveiled is an upgraded promotional line of towels labeled Cloud. Manufactured in India, it will be offered in six sherbet tones — green, pink, yellow, blue, peach and lilac — and will ship in January 2001 to retail at $4.99.

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