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Cecile Corral

Web Exclusive: Brands look to bathe in the glory of towels and rugs

Suppliers are finding room for an abundance of looks based on brands

Jessica Simpson is expanding her home assortment  via recently inked partnerships with 1888 Mills for towels and Bacova Guild for bath rugs.Jessica Simpson is expanding her home assortment via recently inked partnerships with 1888 Mills for towels and Bacova Guild for bath rugs.
New York – If a rose by any other name smell as sweet, could a bath towel by any other name be as chic or do a better drying job?

Several soft bath suppliers hope so with a new crop of designer brands blossoming in the bath towels and bath rugs.

Some are expected, some unexpected. But all look to grab the shopper’s attention.

Among the unexpected: The 1936-established Fiesta brand, which is extending its reach past the table and the kitchen into the bathroom via its license with Town & Country Living, which also produces table linens and kitchen textiles for the brand.

“What’s unique about the Fiesta bath collection is that Fiesta is making all of the accessories themselves in their West Virginia facility,” said Neil Mandell, chief merchandising officer for Town & Country Living. “They are making them all of the same ceramic material that they use to make their dinnerware, and all of them are made in the USA.”

The Fiesta bath program comprises six collections, each of which encompasses a shower curtain, bath towel ensembles, and rugs by Town & Country and bath accessories – toothbrush holder, tumbler, soap dish and lotion pump – made by Fiesta.

Nourison forays into the bath rug category with its licensed program with Kathy Ireland called Plush Solutions.Nourison forays into the bath rug category with its licensed program with Kathy Ireland called Plush Solutions.
“We previewed it last [New York Home Fashions Market] with artwork, but this past market was the official launch, and retailers have received it very well,” Mandell said. “We’re shipping it in three months.”

More expected is Town & Country’s Vera collection, featuring the artwork of the late designer Vera Neumann. Entering its third year in the partnership, Town & Country’s Vera line “has been growing steadily,” Mandell said, as the looks translate effortlessly into home fashions.

While vintage labels definitely have their place at retail, there is also room in the bath for contemporary brands.

1888 Mills and Bacova Guild are addressing that sector with Jessica Simpson. Last month, the companies launched their harmonic collections – 1888 with a line of solid and fashion bath towels and Bacova with a variety of rug styles, including all-cottons.

1888’s assortment is divvied into two tiers – one “better” and one “best,” said Lexi Schladenhauffen, svp of marketing and design.

The better collection is a two-ply ring-spun combed cotton grouping made in Pakistan. It is available in 12 solid colors as well as five yard-dyed jacquards and two yard-dyed stripes. To heed Simpson’s signature style, the collection features a “unique creped dobby that reflects Jessica and her casual chic look.”

The retro Fiesta brand, long a tabletop favorite, makes its first move into the bath with a collection of bath coordinates by Town & Country Living.The retro Fiesta brand, long a tabletop favorite, makes its first move into the bath with a collection of bath coordinates by Town & Country Living.
1888’s best Jessica Simpson collection pays homage to the celebrity’s home state by incorporating in its construction some ring-spun combed cotton grown in Texas. Also nodding to her preferences, this grouping is entirely made in the USA. It comes in eight solid colors

Bacova’s line encompasses 15 different bath rugs styles for Simpson, targeting mid-tier to higher-end distribution channels with suggested retail price points ranging from $14.99 to $39.99.

Designs feature eight to 12 colors per rug. Looks include yarn-dyed styles in stripes, trellises and other motifs. The best or higher-end assortment, Bacova president and ceo Phillip Essig told H&TT, includes five styles that are all hand-crafted with 100% ring-spun cotton.

Nourison is also with a celebrity brand for bath, last month launching an all-cotton bath rug collection called Plush Solutions under the Kathy Ireland label.

The assortment comes in soft solid color schemes and designed to “create a serene environment” with its soft -textured waffle weave that works as both soft and absorbent,” , said Paula Paquette, vp of home for Nouison.

“This collection is simple yet elegant,” Paquette added.

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