Beverly Feldman Maps New Course

NEW YORK — Beverly Feldman is shaking things up for fall.

The designer, whose brand has been produced in China since 1986, moved a portion of manufacturing to Europe; joined forces with a new distributor, New York-based Pantha Imports Ltd.; and added 20 fresh styles under the label Beverly Feldman Glamour & Comfort.

The new offering, set to hit retail in August, debuted at FFANY last month and is now making the trade show rounds, including appearing at Micam in Milan this week.

Feldman set the changes in motion when she partnered with Pantha Imports late last year, after her longtime contract with AJ Casey LLC ended.

“I wanted [the new distributor to be] a small company that would give me special attention,” the designer said of Pantha, which will now distribute her entire range. “Also, [Pantha Imports founder and President] Michael Abrams and I have known each other for many years.”

As part of a strategy to diversify sourcing, about half of Feldman’s offerings will now be made in Spain, where Feldman is based and where the brand was originally manufactured when it launched in 1978. The other half will remain in China.

“Now that prices in China are increasing and the euro is falling vis á vis the dollar, Spain has become a [feasible] market again,” Abrams said.

Feldman added that manufacturing in Spain also came with a creative advantage.

“My shoes have looked the same for a really long time because I have been with the same factory in China,” the designer said. “In China, you have tremendous minimums for construction, [whereas in Spain], there are smaller factories and everything is on a more artisanal scale. This was the perfect place to regenerate the [brand].”

The Glamour & Comfort line, which retails from $200 to $500, represents a design departure for Feldman, who is known for her playfully embellished classic, single-sole constructions. The new styles emphasize platform pumps, bigger heels and more-modern silhouettes. The collection includes pumps, flats, booties and boots, plus a corresponding handbag line.

“I am [infusing the Beverly Feldman aesthetic into] the heavy looks that I stayed away from for so long,” the designer said.

Feldman is targeting stores that carry her label’s traditional offerings, as well as specialty boutiques and department stores such as Nordstrom.

Retailers that have so far signed on to carry Glamour & Comfort include Lord & Taylor in the U.S. and Lane Crawford in Hong Kong, according to Abrams.

He added that this season’s trade show circuit marks another significant change for Feldman: It’s the first time in five years that the designer has been on-site to meet with buyers.

“It’s nice to see Beverly back on the map,” said Lisa Gorlicki, a buyer from Boston’s The Tannery, which will add Glamour & Comfort to its mix for fall.

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