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Milli Home Flexes Fashion Finesse

Milli Home's fall 2007 collection focuses on texture, detail, and opulence — but also price point.

Retail buyers for dec pillows are in a conservative mood right now, according to Pavan Uttam, executive vp and marketing director. For that reason, Milli Home is showing six solid dec pillow constructions — each with a lot of surface interest and each in six to seven solid colors. Retails range from $9.99 to $24.99. Solid color currently accounts for 50% to 60% of Milli Home's business, he said.

"Retailers are being careful, but they're also merchandising with fashion," Uttam said. Milli Home has responded by offering two packs, combining either a pair of solids or a solid pillow with a coordinating fashion pillow.

"They're selling multiple skus that way," he said. "Pillows are an impulse item. It's all about the packaging. The consumer sees a nice ribbon around it, nice presentation, she picks it up."

In fashion pillows, Milli home is showing faux silks and velvets, embroideries and clean embellishments as well as prints on faux silk. Traditional colors are still running strong, Uttam noted, including chocolate, blue, green, and red. Gold and silver accents are still moving as well, he added.

Under the luxury Alpha Workshops Collection by Milli Home — with retails ranging from $100 to $130 — the company has introduced pieced suede, suede macramé, Japanese beads, and embroidered silk pieces. The Alpha collection is also showing gray colorways — taking a cue from ready-to-wear.

"The Milli customers aren't ready for gray yet. But the Alpha customers get it," said Uttam.

For fall, Milli Home also is showing a broader selection of throws — a category the design house tiptoed into with its spring collection. The assortment includes faux fur animal skins, faux cashmere at $12.99 and $14.99 retails, faux lambswool, and textured faux fur solids.

Milli is also offering a bamboo throw, a sku Uttam said appeals to retailers that are putting together a natural story. "It's something if they're making a foray into showing they're eco-friendly, but they won't go deep into it. And you can't blame them because their customer isn't willing to pay a premium for eco — not just yet."

The company's table linens business is being driven by sets, novelty fabrics, and non-textiles — bamboo and others types of reeds for the spring season, synthetics such as nylon and acetate for fall, he said.

Fashion bedding continues to be a business limited to specific customer requests. Uttam doesn't foresee launching a Milli bedding line any time soon.

"We're a small company, but growing fairly steadily," he said. "We'll take it in baby steps."

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