By David Gill
NEW YORK–Not long after opening for business 20 years ago, Revman reached its historic licensing agreement for the Laura Ashley collection of home textiles.
Since then, Revman has boosted its product line with a roster of licenses, including some of the most recognizable designer-apparel brands on the market.
As recent license deals demonstrate, the company continues to be aggressive in seeking out new license partners—and not only with well-known apparel designers.
With the debut earlier this year of the Antiques Roadshow collection of quilts, Revman has set its sights on consumers wanting heirloom products in their bedrooms.
The license stems from “Antiques Roadshow,” the public-television series on which antiques dealers offer free appraisals of heirlooms or auction and yard-sale bargains. Now in its 12th year, the show claims a weekly audience of 11 million viewers—all of whom could be considered potential consumers of the quilt line.
Revman is already a veteran of the quilt business, having offered quilts as part of its Laura Ashley license and Stone Cottage brands. The first quilts in the Antiques Roadshow collection, which have just begun previews with retailers, include Iris, derived from an appliqued cotton quilt of the early 20th century; Diamond Stripe, whose design comes from quilts made with alternating fabric strips; Snowflake, a color scheme combining blue and white; Schoolhouse, featuring a house in a garden maze; Double Nines, offering nine-block checks; and Crossroads, a combination of shapes and lines from individual fabric scraps.
The packaging carries forward the heirloom theme by offering lettering on a weathered-looking label, which includes the Antiques Roadshow logo.
Columbia Lifestyle for the Home
The Columbia Lifestyle for the Home collection first reached retailers in fall 2007.
The collection stems from Revman’s license with Columbia Sportswear, the apparel/footwear brand. Founded in 1938, Columbia Sportswear has grown from a small, family-owned hat distributorship to become a noted outerwear and skiwear brand. The company’s design philosophy, according to a Columbia Sportswear statement, focuses on a relaxed approach to apparel for the outdoors.
The Columbia Lifestyle for the Home collection encompasses decorative bedding, comforters, throws, pillows, blankets, bath towels and accessories. The designs are drawn from the colors and textures of the outdoors, and are adaptable to a variety of interior designs. Its fabrication is geared toward practical and functional, as it seeks to provide comfort and textural interest.
“We are an outdoor brand,” said Carolyn Casey, licensing director for Columbia Sportswear, “but this line has extended the Columbia Sportswear brand into home furnishings. Revman is leading the program, and has many exciting plans for the products and retail partner expansion.”
Revman’s licensed L’erba Home collection—a high-end luxury assortment of bedding, sheeting duvet covers, quilts and accessories—first reached the marketplace in July 2006.
Founded in 2003, L’erba is headed by Suzanne Morse-Smith, a textiles industry veteran who has done design work for another Revman license, Michael Kors, and Donna Karan. As Morse-Smith described the company’s design orientation, the collection is “inspired by nature.” The line’s focus is “creating a sanctuary for the home, which is both sophisticated and comfortable. Using soft, soothing colors and great textures, L’erba focuses on handcrafted details of quilting, applique and embroidery.”
Currently, the collection has gained placement in high-end retailers such as Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus and specialty boutiques throughout the country.
Morse-Smith said the line has helped increase consumer recognition for the L’erba brand, and has given the brand “great exposure through Revman’s resources, with the opportunity for faster growth.”
Coming soon to the brand is a new bedding collection called Sanctuary by L’erba. The new collection “is inspired by luxury spas throughout the world,” Morse-Smith said. “I wanted to design a line that captures (the luxury-spa) feeling and allows the consumer to create their own luxury-spa experience in their own bedroom.”
Revman made a major splash in home textiles by forming a partnership with the Laura Ashley brand in 1989, one year after the company opened for business.
According to Penne Cairoli, general manager of Laura Ashley, the company’s relationship with Revman began with the company manufacturing bedding for the Laura Ashley stores. It later blossomed into a full-fledged license. Today, according to Penne Cairoli, general manager of Laura Ashley, “Bed linen is the number-one most-recognized category for the Laura Ashley brand.”
The Laura Ashley collection continues to offer fashion bed linens, coordinated bath accessories and window treatments to “the whole gamut” of retailers, as Cairoli expressed it. The line is a mainstay at department stores, mass merchants, specialty stores and online retailers.
The brand’s design focus remains centered on the “ultimate in English country styling,” which Americans have perceived of Laura Ashley since the brand first hit the market, according to a Revman statement. The brand has always been linked to florals from gardens at manor houses and country cottages.
“Revman has very good relationships with the retailers,” Cairoli said. “The company strongly believes in the brand, and they’ve been able to tie the retailers to the brand and give them the products they’re asking for.”
Revman’s licensed Marimekko bedding line has connected the manufacturer with one of the world’s most venerable textiles brands.
Founded in Helsinki by the brothers Armi and Viljo Ratia in 1951, Marimekko began by offering bold designs in vivid colors for apparel. Today, along with the Revman line of duvet covers, pillowcases and sheets, Marimekko’s designs also appear on clothing, accessories and interior-design products.
“More than a brand name, Marimekko represents the desire for a modern lifestyle that is in harmony with the natural environment,” a Revman statement said.
The Marimekko bedding collection now appears exclusively at Crate & Barrel. “Showing Marimekko design together with display fabrics in Crate & Barrel stores has built Marimekko’s brand awareness throughout the years in the U.S. market,” said Paivi Lonka, export director of licensing for Marimekko.
Revman anticipates Marimekko’s devoted following in North America will grow with the opening of Marimekko concept stores. Currently, the stores are located in major U.S. and Canadian metropolitan areas.
Michael Kors Collection
Along with the Columbia Lifestyle for the Home collection, the Michael Kors line debuted at retailers in fall 2007 with the patterns Park Ave, Tribeca and Taos. It has since been placed at Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s and Dillard’s.
The line extends the sophisticated, “jet-set” design orientation of Kors, whose apparel and accessory designs have been retail fixtures since 1981, into home furnishings, said Jill Fishman, senior vice president of global licensing for Michael Kors (USA). The Kors home program blends European and American design elements to create looks that are “chic, with a distinctively modern edge,” Fishman said.
“This category has allowed (Michael Kors) to expand its lifestyle concept beyond apparel and accessories,” she said. “Home furnishings is a natural extension of the brand and its aesthetic.”
In a company statement, Kors said he tries to create “timeless luxury” in designing his home line, which includes bed and bath products, and makes it adaptable to a variety of settings, “whether it’s your urban apartment, snowy ski lodge, beach bungalow or anything in between,” he said.
This fall, Revman’s Perry Ellis line of bed and bath products will make its first appearance at department stores throughout the country.
The collection will appear under three labels: Perry Ellis, Perry Ellis Portfolio and Perry Ellis America. The new collection will reach the stores as Perry Ellis International marks its 30th anniversary in business. Beginning as a menswear brand, Perry Ellis later expanded to include women’s wear and accessories through extensions of the product line and through licensing.
When the Revman agreement was announced in March, Rich Roman, Revman’s president, said the designer’s products evoked “a sophisticated yet enduring lifestyle.”
Oscar Feldenkreis, president and chief operating officer of Perry Ellis International, said, “Home fashion was a missing element of the Perry Ellis lifestyle. (Revman’s) design capabilities and industry knowledge make them the right partner to interpret the significance of the Perry Ellis lifestyle for the home.”
This past spring, Revman unveiled the second of its “Tommys,” the Tommy Bahama home collection. It was a broad launch of bedding groups featuring lush weaves, tactile and natural fabrics, and sun-washed textures, according to a Revman statement.
This offering comes in two labels: Tommy Bahama Collection, a master bedroom grouping with luxurious designs inspired by resorts; and Relax by Tommy Bahama, a more casual look. All of the ensembles in each brand offer bedding and coordinated bath products.
Under Tommy Bahama Collection, the ensembles include Curacao Reef, Amber Isle, Palm Desert, Bamboo Floral, Jimbaran Bay and Veranda. Included in this group is a jacquard coverlet called Palm Leaf, which can be layered into any of the six designs.
The initial ensembles of the Relax by Tommy Bahama line are Batik Damask and Belize Stripe, whose designs are geared toward creating a casual retreat in one’s bedroom. Also part of this brand are bath accessories in a variety of materials and shower curtains, both freestanding and coordinated. Relax by Tommy Bahama also includes a core solid-color towel program, Royal Bamboo, “which is an eco-conscious blend of bamboo and cotton,” Revman said.
The Tommy Hilfiger Home collection is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, extending the designer’s casual looks into the home.
Revman’s 1998 launch of the Tommy Hilfiger line offered 14 bed ensembles, a program of solids and a 20-color line of bath towels in two sizes. Menswear looks continue to inspire the designs of much of the collection, but this line also includes florals and paisleys in a variety of colorways.
The license with Revman is one of nearly 40 such product lines that the Hilfiger organization has running. Hilfiger products now encompass men’s and women’s sportswear and denim wear, athletic clothing, children’s apparel and accessories. Hilfiger also offers fragrances, belts and cosmetics.
plenty by Tracy Reese
Plenty by Tracy Reese debuted in April of this year as an exclusive at Anthropologie, as well as in Reese’s flagship boutique in New York City.
This collection includes duvet covers, quilts, comforters, pillow shams, sheets, bed skirts and decorative pillows. Reese, who once designed for Perry Ellis and Martine Sitbon, now designs her own apparel collections, which have appeared at her boutique and in department stores and specialty stores nationwide.
The brand “exudes the culture, texture, embellishment and beautiful prints of a worldly ‘boho’ (a combination of Bohemian and hippy influences) lifestyle,” said Laurisa Truemper, licensing director for the Tracy Reese organization. “This aesthetic translates easily to a home collection. It is about a feminine chic way of life with a dose of exotic flare and wit.”
As with its other licensed brands, Revman’s Tracy Reese collection has given the design an identity beyond her apparel work. “Tracy has become a mainstay in the (apparel) industry as she continues to develop a strong design philosophy by staying true to her point of view,” Truemper said. “Adding the home category builds on this concept and speaks to our goal of creating a ‘plenty’ world.”
The current plan is to open plenty by Tracy Reese to department stores and specialty stores in spring 2009. “We are not ruling out the possibility of expanding into additional home and lifestyle categories in the future,” Truemper said.