A New Era at Donna: Grow Collection Sales And Hit the Deadlines

NEW YORK — If Donna Karan represents the left side of the brain, then Melissa Parker-Lilly is on the right.Just a few weeks into her new role...

A black paillette dress with a low bustier top, for example, also comes in two styles of skirts, one flared and one fitted, with a variety of matching sweater options or a cashmere jacket to better serve shoppers who are wider or shorter than the original style might best flatter. In addition to increasing its focus on knits, Parker-Lilly also believes the company can become a dominant resource in pants and eveningwear.

"Pre-fall is important because we want to build good relationships with the stores," said Parker-Lilly, who is presenting the line to key accounts like Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue this week. "To stores and to designer customers, the trend is to shop earlier and it becomes imperative to have options there for them."

Parker-Lilly has also instituted some obvious steps to improve relations internally and externally, inviting Donna Karan’s store personnel as well as other retailers’ personal shoppers and key sales associates to sales meetings, so that the people who will ultimately be selling the collection to the designer customers will be armed with the knowledge of how they were made to be worn.

"Donna Karan fell into the same trap of many big European brands: They have become more focused on the idea of a brand instead of a collection," Parker-Lilly said. "When you do things the right way, you get the right results. We have a team of people who want to do things the right way."
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