After years of making fashion statements as a diva, Patti LaBelle is about to launch her own clothing line. From Nov. 6, the first collection from the Patti LaBelle line will be sold exclusively through TV shopping channel HSN. “I’ve always had people complimenting me on how I dress,” LaBelle tells Billboard in an exclusive interview for the Nov. 1 issue. “I thought about launching my own fashion line before, but the timing wasn’t right until now.”
The seeds for the new venture were planted when New York-based Dream Designs approached LaBelle to start her own clothing line with St. Petersburg, Fla.-based HSN. She agreed, and within six months — a quick turnaround for a new fashion venture — the Patti LaBelle clothing collection was born.
LaBelle has final approval on all aspects of the line, and she will make personal appearances to sell the clothes on live HSN broadcasts. Her first HSN appearances will come Nov. 6 at 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET.
Dream Designs has had success with celebrity clothing launches on HSN for actresses Susan Lucci and Suzanne Somers. Lucci and Somers’ fashion lines remain among the top clothing sellers for the network, according to HSN.
LaBelle’s contract with Dream Designs is for a term of about three years. Her Philadelphia-based manager, Damascene Pierre, was a key player in landing the deal. “Patti was involved in the creative process from the beginning,” adds Arthur Brown, design director for Dream Designs. “We went through her closets, asked her what fabrics and colors she likes. A lot of the designs we came up with were based on things Patti would wear on the red carpet.”
Prices for Patti LaBelle clothing were kept in a mid-tier range, with items selling for about $30 to $200 each. The collection will include ensembles and separates. There will be many suede and leather items, as well as knit tops, a sequined tuxedo and a faux fur cape. The sizes for Patti LaBelle clothing will range from six to 24. In keeping with HSN policy, the price for a clothing item remains the same regardless of size.
The singer is expected to make appearances on HSN about five days per year; the next collection in her fashion line is due in March 2004.
LaBelle notes that working on the clothing line has not interfered with her music career. Now signed to Def Jam Classics (her longtime label, MCA Records, folded earlier this year), LaBelle is working on her next studio album, due in February 2004, with such producers as Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and Wyclef Jean. “This is my other calling,” LaBelle states of her new career as a fashion mogul. “You must be able to stand by your product, and I do. I’m proud of these clothes, and I can’t wait for people to start enjoying them.”