HALSTON USES $5 MIL IN ADS TO HELP RESUSCITATE IMAGE

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Halston, a name once as recognizable as Calvin Klein or Ralph Lauren, is trying to make a comeback.

Halston International, a new venture formed by brothers Marc and Jack Setton, principals of TTI Apparel Group, is gearing up to relaunch the name in women's clothing, menswear, accessories and home furnishings.

JACKIE O'S OUTFITTER

The designer, who died in 1990, achieved early fame outfitting notable women from Jackie Onassis to Liza Minnelli. Once synonymous with simple elegance, his name was muddied in 1983, when a partnership with J.C. Penney Co. for a line of lower-price clothes under the Halston III label failed.

The rights to the Halston name were originally owned by Norton Simon Inc.; the brothers Setton bought the rights for everything except fragrance about a year ago.

The relaunch includes a $5 million ad campaign from Select, New York, under Worldwide Creative Director Olivier Van Doorne. The campaign combines a tagline of "Life American style" with b&w photography accented by images of plywood strips, and "encompasses elegance, simplicity and warmth," Mr. Van Doorne said.

Trade ads to build awareness with retailers for the women's wear line already have broken, with consumer ads to follow next year in magazines such as Elle, House Beautiful and Vogue, supported by outdoor in key cities.

Halston plans major brand-building via a wide array of items, rolling out a full line of women's midprice sportswear and career clothing next spring, with men's wear, accessories and a home collection planned for fall 1997.

LICENSEES IN THE WORKS

Director of Licensing Carmine Porcelli is in the process of scrutinizing and signing up licensees for brand extensions.

"My dream is to build it and bring the integrity the brand should have so that [Halston] would've been proud," Mr. Porcelli said. "We want to take his philosophy into the future."

"They are prepared to spend a significant amount of money marketing the Halston brand," said Terry Lundgren, chairman-CEO of Federated Merchandising and Federated Product Development at Federated Department Stores. Federated chains including Macy's, Bloomingdale's and Burdines will carry the brand.

"It's too early to tell, but I think the potential is good. Halston has a name brand recognition with department store customers," he said.

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