HILFIGER HAS DESIGNS ON MEDIA;FASHION STAR LOOKS TO MARTHA STEWART FOR INSPIRATION

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Tommy Hilfiger, the high-flying men's fashion designer who only recently began pushing fragrances and women's clothing, is looking to follow in the multimedia footsteps of entertainment maven Martha Stewart.

"I'm looking to get into videos and book publishing in the very near future," he said last week during the annual conference of the American Business Press in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Mr. Hilfiger told Advertising Age he has no contracts lined up, but said he is eyeing producing how-to fashion books and videos and is seeking advice from Ms. Stewart, whose empire includes a magazine, TV show and numerous books.

"Martha Stewart is a very good friend of mine and she's been giving me guidance in this whole concept," Mr. Hilfiger said.

There's another connection between the two: entertainment lawyer Allen Grubman, who has been handling Ms. Stewart's tense negotiations with Time Inc. and has worked with Mr. Hilfiger in the past.

Rumors about whether Ms. Stewart will break away from Time Inc. heated up again last week with the departure of Michelle Sidrane as president and publisher of Random House's Crown Publishers.

Ms. Sidrane was the long-time editor of the best-selling Martha Stewart series of books published through the Clarkson Potter/Publishers unit of Crown.

Reached last week, Ms. Sidrane wouldn't comment on whether she will go into business with Ms. Stewart, or Mr. Hilfiger for that matter.

"I have a number of options, but I am not going to discuss anything," she said.

56% GROWTH EXPECTED

Mr. Hilfiger, honorary chairman and principal designer at Tommy Hilfiger Corp., predicted his company's sales for the fiscal year ended March 31, will top $500 million, up about 56%. In fiscal 1995, net income was up 61% to $41 million and revenues surged 41% to $321 million.

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