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    Default PICS: Isaac Mizrahi for Liz Claiborne Collection

    WWD reports:

    EXCLUSIVE: Isaac Mizrahi is putting his oh-so-Isaac stamp on his debut collection for Liz Claiborne, turning out fun, fashionable looks with a sporty attitude and plenty of vibrant color. WWD received sketches of the collection from an anonymous source.

    NEW YORK — Isaac Mizrahi’s debut collection for Liz Claiborne has been a closely guarded secret given the designer’s non-compete agreement with Target Corp., which expires at the end of the year. So imagine WWD’s pleasant surprise when an unmarked envelope arrived with sketches of some of Mizrahi’s spring looks for Liz.

    The consensus of the first effort? Fresh and smart, with all of Mizrahi’s signatures but more tempered than he’s sometimes been in the past.

    There are crisp pantsuits, cheerful colors and the kind of strong design hand Claiborne hasn’t seen in years — from the floral lining on a trenchcoat that coordinates with leggings to the handbags, jewels and shoes. As for prices, sources said they remain the same as always, averaging $30 for a T-shirt and up to $250 for outerwear. The line hits store floors in January.

    Clearly Claiborne has a lot riding on Mizrahi, given the core brand accounts for almost 25 percent of the parent company’s volume. At the time of Mizrahi’s appointment at Liz in January, Liz Claiborne Inc. chief executive William L. McComb said enthusiastically, “This is the long-awaited differentiation that Macy’s has been asking for. This is the vital answer to the differentiation.”

    Let’s see what the retailers say. They’ll begin seeing the collection today. Meanwhile, Mizrahi is pressing ahead with his own line, with a full-scale show set for the Hammerstein Ballroom on Monday including, sources said, specially commissioned music. Isaac Suite, No. 1?

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