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Beyoncé’s Fashion Song: Star Said in Deal With Ecko Unltd.

Beyoncé Knowles has apparently signed a deal with Ecko Unlimited to produce a line of women’s clothing under the A Touch of Couture label.

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As reported in WWD in October, the singer said she hoped to launch two collections — one a junior-oriented line with a hip-hop feel and a second, more sophisticated range of dresses and separates.

“People my age love fashion and want to dress in designer clothes, but can’t afford it,” Knowles said in October. “I want to do something that is affordable, but sophisticated and sexy and feminine — something I would wear.”

Tina Knowles said last fall in Milan that she and her daughter were in final negotiations with two New York-based manufacturers, but declined to give names or elaborate on collection details at that time.

“We’re hoping to have the line ready for summer 2004,” Tina said. “It’s a bit ambitious, but we’re going to try.”

There had been rumors over the last few months over who would produce the line, with speculation ranging from Rocawear to Tommy Hilfiger. Rocawear earlier this year declined to comment on whether it was in talks with Knowles, while Hilfiger didn’t dismiss the possibility. However, he said the first priority was to work with the singer on the new multiyear agreement she signed with The Estée Lauder Cos. — Hilfiger’s beauty licensee — for Knowles to appear in the advertising for a new Hilfiger women’s fragrance, reportedly called True Star, to be launched in the U.S. in September and rolled out globally in October.

Knowles would join a flood of hip-hop artists into the apparel business. Two weeks ago, Missy Elliott launched a collection with Adidas, while Mary J. Blige, Ashanti and Alicia Keys all have expressed interest in one day doing their own clothing lines.

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