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‘Sex’ star Bitten by Steve & Barry’s bug


PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. —Steve & Barry’s is reinventing its women’s business with the launch of an exclusive apparel line from actress and “Sex and the City” television star Sarah Jessica Parker. The line, called Bitten, landed in all 200-plus stores nationwide earlier this month.

“We offered basic casual sportswear for women in the past, but we’ve always been a primarily male-oriented store since the company first got its start in 1985,” said Howard Schacter, chief partnership officer for Steve & Barry’s. “This really elevates the selection we have available for female shoppers who were already in our store, but primarily shopping for their husbands, their sons or their boyfriends.”

Steve & Barry’s heritage is in casual collegiate, licensed and casual lifestyle apparel, and Sarah Jessica Parker’s new line fits in with that expertise, Schacter said.

“This line reflects the personal style of Sarah Jessica Parker, not Carrie Bradshaw,” Schacter said, referring to the character Parker played on “Sex and the City,” who was often shown on the show wearing Manolo Blahnik shoes and designer labels like Gucci and Prada. “Bitten is trend-right, but not fashion-forward. It has items Sarah Jessica would wear when she’s not on the red carpet.”

The line, comprised of 500 items in the initial summer collection all priced at $19.98 or less, includes fashion basics such as woven and knit T-shirts, denim, sweatshirts, lingerie and sleepwear. But it also includes trendier pieces, too, such as a puff-sleeve ruffle tuxedo top for $9.98 and a cuff-sleeve shirtdress for $19.98. Accessories, including jewelry, bags and shoes, will also be part of the collection. The line comes in sizes two through 22.

“Women should be able to wear great clothes and not lie in bed at night feeling guilty about how much money they’ve spent,” Parker said in a statement. “Steve & Barry’s has made me a believer: High quality, luxurious clothes do not need to cost as much as we’ve been led to think.”

Parker’s line will have a commanding presence inside all Steve & Barry’s stores, with its own “store-in-store” boutique destination, which will command a “sizeable percentage” of the on-average 75,000-square-foot selling space Steve & Barry’s has in its stores, Schacter said. Where possible, the line will be positioned near the front and center of the store, he added.

The in-store boutiques will include LCD televisions that will play the story behind the designing of the line and Parker’s decision to work with Steve & Barry’s. The name, Bitten, for example, comes from Parker’s reaction when she was first introduced to the company. Parker was blown away by the company’s mission and “bitten by the Steve & Barry’s bug” after walking into a store for the first time.

Parker isn’t the only celebrity to be enamored with Steve & Barry’s. The company teamed up earlier this year with New York Knicks basketball star Stephon Marbury to create a line of casual apparel, shoes and basketball sneakers called Starbury. Marbury wears the Starbury One sneaker, which retails for $14.98, on the court. Steve & Barry’s says the Starbury shoe is engineered with the same materials in basketball shoes that retail between $100 and $150.

Chicago Bulls player Ben Wallace wears a shoe from the Starbury II line, which launched in stores in March, and he will have his own shoe in the Starbury collection in coming months.

Finally, in May, Steve & Barry’s announced an apparel partnership with actress Amanda Bynes. The line, called Dear, will be a full range of apparel and accessories debuts in August.

“It will be targeted toward a younger customer, more tween or teenage in age,” Schacter said.

Other celebrity collaborations are possible, although the company would not name names at press time. The apparel lines from Parker and Bynes will be “mainstays” for the company, Schacter said.

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